NEW YORK – You don’t need to be of any particular religion to appreciate the art of the faithful. Deftly rendered on wood and bronze, these images – some literally icons – tell stories of the Gospel, the Virgin Mary, saints, and martyrs. When they are done expertly, as these are, the artworks have the power to capture and hold the attention of all, not just loyal worshippers. On May 12, starting at 4 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will host an auction of 15th-20th century religious icons. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
One of the sale’s many standouts is a 19th century large Russian wooden icon that depicts Saint Archangel Michael, who appears in the book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible; in Revelations in the New Testament of the Bible; and is mentioned in the Quran. In the realm of Christianity, Michael earned a reputation as a leader of the army of God against the forces of evil, and we see this in the icon: a winged Michael, on horseback, thrusts a golden spear into a demon gazing up from the flames of Hades. The icon carries an estimate of $7,000-$8,000.
Also on offer is a bronze icon of the Virgin Hodegetria, one of a scant few of its type. “Hodegetria” translates as “she who points the way,” and Hodegetria icons typically show the Virgin Mary holding the infant Christ and pointing at him or gesturing to him, indicating that he is the route to salvation. The icon, which is described as extremely rare, is estimated at $5,000-$6,000.
Rounding out the lineup is an 18th-century icon of the nine martyrs of Kyzikos, or Cyzicus, a coastal town in what is now Turkey. The nine lived in the late 3rd century and clung to their Christian beliefs despite assorted threats from the powers that be. Ultimately, all were beheaded. This icon is clearly the work of a skilled artist who was unflustered by the task of including the portraits of nine different people plus their halos. It is estimated at $6,000-$7,000.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/