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The Eulogy to the Mother of God (‘Pokhvala Presvyatui Bogoroditsui’)

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1998,0605.9

  • Title (object)

    • The Eulogy to the Mother of God (‘Pokhvala Presvyatui Bogoroditsui’)
  • Description

    Icon; painted; in the centre of the icon, within a floral ornamental silver-gilt frame, is the Virgin Mary enthroned with, above, the half-length figure of Christ raising both hands in a gesture of benediction. On either side are the 12 prophets (six on each side) holding scrolls with excerpts from their scriptures. Below, in the centre, kneels the figure of the magician Balaam. The 'oklad' is decorated with embossed floral scrolls.
    Inscriptions: in Church Slavonic on the top border: ПОХВАЛА ПРЕСВЯТЫЯ БОГОРОДИЦЫ (Eulogy to the Holy Mother of God); in Greek: beside Christ's halo: ΙC ΧC (Jesus Christ); inside the halo: O WN (He Who Is); in the halo of the Virgin: MP ΘV (Mother of God); all the prophets have their haloes inscribed in Church Slavonic: on the left: АВВАКУМ (Habbakuk), ГЕДЕОН (Gideon), ЗАХАРИЯ (Zachariah), МОИСЕЙ (Moses), СОЛОМОН (Solomon), ДАВИД (David); below the Virgin in the centre: ВАЛААМ (Balaam); on the right: ЗАХАРИЯ СЕРП[ОВИДЕЦ] (Zachariah of the Crescent), ИЛИЯ (Elijah), ДАНИИЛ (Daniel), ИЕЗЕКИЛЬ (Ezekiel), ИСАЙЯ (Isaiah), ИАКОВ (Jacob). On the prophets' scrolls are letters in Church Slavonic which have been taken from the scriptures. All these inscriptions are replicated on the 'oklad'.
    Egg tempera, gold, gesso on wood, silver-gilt revetment .

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  • Date

    • 17thC
    • 19thC (restoration)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 31.4 centimetres
    • Width: 27.1 centimetres
    • Thickness: 2.5 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Greek
      • Inscription Position

        by Christ's halo
      • Inscription Language

        Greek
      • Inscription Comment

        identifying figures
      • Inscription Type

        hallmark
      • Inscription Position

        along bottom edge of revetment
      • Inscription Content

        Φ:Π (unknown assay master); illegible; 84 (mark of fineness); St George and the dragon (Moscow coat of arms).
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Greek
      • Inscription Position

        Christ's halo
      • Inscription Language

        Greek
      • Inscription Comment

        identifying figure
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Greek
      • Inscription Position

        Virgin's halo
      • Inscription Language

        Greek
      • Inscription Comment

        identifying figure
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cyrillic
      • Inscription Position

        above figures
      • Inscription Language

        Church Slavonic
      • Inscription Comment

        identifying figures
  • Curator's comments

    The iconography was first developed in Byzantium in the 14th century and derives from the Mariological hymns of Germanos I, Patriarch of Constantinople from 715–30, and Germanos II, Patriarch of Constantinople from 1222–40. In Byzantine art the composition was known as the ‘Tree of Jesse’ and was a metaphorical image of the genealogy of Christ based on Isaiah 11:1 and Matthew 1:1–17. The design of the Museum’s icon recalls the frescoes in the Dormition cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, dated to 1480 (Zonova 1971), and an icon from the St Cyril Belozerski monastery (dated 1550–60) (Vilinbahova and Pleshanova 1995, no. 32). The latter depicts the 12 prophets showing their prophecies on scrolls, which are dedicated to the miracle of Christ’s incarnation. Each prophet holds an attribute symbolizing the Virgin Mary: a rock (Habbakuk and Daniel), a burning bush (Moses), a temple (Solomon), the Ark of the Covenant (David), a crescent (Zachariah), closed gates (Ezekiel), flowers (Jacob), and the magician Balaam holds the star of Bethlehem. Symbolically the prophets glorify both the Mother of God as the Holy Throne and Christ Emmanuel above her.

    See also cat. no. 28.

    Published:
    Cormack 2007, 123, no. 41

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  • Bibliography

    • Bobrov 2008 23 bibliographic details
    • Cormack 2007 No. 41 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition

    Made from a single panel with ‘kovcheg’; two inserted battens on the reverse; the original was over-painted when the icon was restored and covered with the revetment.

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1998

  • Acquisition notes

    See 1998,0605.1 Most of the items catalogued under 1998,0605 were acquired by Sir Frank Roberts’ wife, Cella.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1998,0605.9

  • Additional IDs

    • IC 41 (Icon Collection number)
Icon painted with egg tempera on wood prepared with linen and gesso; silver oklad. Subject: the Mother of God foretold by the Prophets. In the centre, the Virgin seated on an elaborate chair; above her, the half-length figure of Christ; below her, the sup

Icon painted with egg tempera on wood prepared with linen and gesso; silver oklad. Subject: the Mother of God foretold by the Prophets. In the centre, the Virgin seated on an elaborate chair; above her, the half-length figure of Christ; below her, the sup

Image description

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