NEW YORK – Religious icons, artful images arising from all reaches of the European Orthodox world, carry rich histories and intricate symbolism. More than 100 of these Old World antiques that depict Gospel scenes and the lives of the saints, the Virgin Mary and Christ will be offered at a Jasper52 online auction Wednesday, Dec. 13. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
In Byzantine art, and later Eastern Orthodox art generally, the Deësis (“prayer” or “supplication”) is a traditional iconic representation of Christ in Majesty or Christ Pantocrator enthroned, carrying a book and flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist. A large Deësis triptych (above) offered in the auction dates to about 1700 and originated in northern Russia. Done in gesso, gold and tempera, it measures 23.2 by 16.8 inches. It has a $2,400-$2,700 estimate.
Another Deësis icon in the auction features a similar composition of Christ flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist and surrounded by saints (below). It dates to the 17th or 18th century and is estimated at $2,200-$2,400.
‘The Ascension of Elijah,’ the subject of a 19th-century Russian icon, depicts the Hebrew prophet of the ninth century B.C. who championed the worship of Jehovah. This large icon has a $1,900-$2,100 estimate.
Complementing the Christmas spirit is a 19th-century Russian icon depicting the life of St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker. This large icon of gesso, tempera and silver on a wooden board is expected to sell for $2,100-$2,300.
A beautiful 19th-century Russian silver and enamel icon of Christ, which measures 5 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches, is hand-painted with egg tempera on a wood panel. It carries a $1,100-$1,200 estimate.
An unusual 19th-century icon in the auction is titled St. John Baptist, Forerunner – Finding of the Head. It depicts disciples recovering the severed head of the slain prophet. The icon measures 6.2 inches by 7.6 inches and is estimated at $300-$350.
The auction will begin Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 4 p.m. Eastern time.