Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Entry into Jerusalem - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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UU012. Entry into Jerusalem

Russian, Old Believers?
Perhaps late 18th century in the style of the Novgorod School
31.8 x 28.5 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

Provenance:  1. Danish private collection

2. Stockholm art market

£3,750 [Sold]Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

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The iconographic design closely follows the scriptural accounts (Matt. 21:8, Mark 11: 1-10, Luke 19: 29-38, John 12: 12-13) and can be traced to early Byzantine icons. Already in the tenth century, the main elements of the composition are present, as early icons from Sinai and mosaics in Sicily illustrate (see fig's a and b). A palm tree is usually situated in the centre of the panel, with the Mount of Olives to our left and the city of Jerusalem (including the temple) to our right. Christ sits on a donkey in the centre of the foreground, and either looks back to his disciples or ahead to the city. His right hand blesses, while his left hand holds a sealed scroll. Behind Christ the disciples stand gathered in conversation. Small children lay garments on the floor under the hooves of the horse. Children can also be seen in the branches of the palm tree.

Fig. a. Entry into Jerusalem, Byzantine, date unknown, Mount Sinai

Fig. b. Entry into Jerusalem, Byzantine, 12-13th c. Cathedral of the Assumption, Monreale, Sicily

The most obvious difference between the Byzantine icons and Russian versions is that in the latter Christ is depicted on a horse rather than a donkey. In Russia they did not know what a donkey looked like as the animal was not known in this part of the world.

Our example is painted in the style of the Novgorod School in the late 15th or early 16th century, but is most probably an Old Believer master who has learnt how to paint in this earlier style. The mountains have been depicted with fine delicate strokes. In Russian these luminous ledges in icons are referred to as leshchadka, which means 'split or bevelled rock'. The compositional structure follows an icon attributed to Andrei Rublyov in the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Moscow (see fig. c). Yet the style corresponds very closely with a Novgorod icon in the Tretyakov Gallery (see fig. d). As we can see the composition and faces are all strikingly similar - even if the use of colour is markedly different. The 18th century Old Believer icon-painter clearly used this icon as the prototype for the current object.

Fig. c. Andrei Rublyov, Entry into Jerusalem, Moscow, early 15th century. Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow Kremlin

Fig. d. Entry into Jerusalem, Novgorod, late 15th century, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia No. UU012

Detail Images