The Virgin of the Sign,
Russia, Moscow or Vladimir region.
Second half 19th century
36 x 31 x 2.5 cm
Condition. There are narrow bands of retouching below the Virgin's chin and by Christ's left cheek, probably repairs to damage caused by a metal riza, now lost. There is evidence of an attempt to clean the paint surface in the upper right corner causing minor paint loss near the border. There are signs of an old crack running vertically a little to the right of centre; this has been stabilised by the horizontal splines inlaid on the back of the panel made according to traditional methods.
Provenance. Art market, 2007
The work is a good example of the academic style, typical of the period that revived medieval painting. For example the thin parallel strips of highlighting by the Virgin's eyes, nose and mouth are derived from 15th century Russian icons done under the influence of Byzantine art of the Paleologan period (14th century).
The protecting saints on the borders are, above, the Guardian Angel and Metropolitan Aleksei of Moscow and, below, Saint Feokt, shown as a nun, and Saint Glikeria, wearing the red cloak of martyrdom.