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Lot 0736
**Originally Listed At $600**

Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. 19th century CE. Finely painted in egg tempera and gold leaf on gesso on wood, an icon depicting the synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other bodiless powers. Also known as the principle feast of the angels, this feast day celebrates the significance of those which comprise Heaven's host. Central to the icon is the Archangel Michael, standing in gleaming golden armor with outspread wings, holding a white globus in his right hand and wielding his iconic flaming sword in his left. Standing atop billowing clouds are Michael as well as eighteen other angelic figures. God the Father and the infant Christ sit upon a similar cloudy throne, and eight seraphim surround them. The pale-blue background provides a gentle complement to the vibrant hues of the foreground images, and peripheral gold leaf borders display lightly-incised floral patterns reminiscent of faux-strapwork. Size: 15.5" W x 17.625" H (39.4 cm x 44.8 cm).

As Chief Commander of the Heavenly hosts, Saint Michael bravely challenged the Devil. Satan, after all, was Michael's opponent in the battle for Heaven. Archangels are understood to be helpers and allies who offer dedicated protection through life's trials and travails. Their names usually end in the suffix "ael" or "iel" meaning “Shining One” in Hebrew, e.g. Miguel, Rafael, Gabriel, Ariel, Ezekiel, Barachiel, Uriel, etc.

Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Icons were some of the first religious artworks brought to Russia from Byzantium. These sacred pictures of the Greek Orthodox church reached a high point in the Byzantine era, however, the Russians brought their own style to the art of the icon. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As such they are truly "windows into heaven."

Provenance: private E. G. collection, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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Repaired from two halves, with adhesive residue along break line on verso and minor overpainting to details along obverse break line. Expected age-commensurate surface wear, small chips and losses to painted details along obverse break line, fading to paint and gold leaf details, chips and nicks along peripheries, otherwise very good. Suspension hooks and wire on verso for mounting, and black slats still present, with light insect damage. Old inventory number "35" written on verso.

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19th C. Russian Icon - Synaxis of the Bodiless Powers

Estimate $1,000 - $1,500
$4500 bids
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Louisville, CO, USA