Temple Gallery

Established 1959

The 'All Seeing Eye of God' - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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UU030. The 'All Seeing Eye of God'

Late 19th century
17.8 x 14.5 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

£1,750 [Sold]Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

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The icon is structured concentrically, leading us to the centre where we find Christ Emmanuel within a medallion that surmounts a larger red circle showing a face with eyes, nose and mouth - an anthropomorphic symbol of the sun. Four triangular beams of red and gold radiate from the sphere of Christ, indicating his Glory. The two outer circles show stars and seraphim, indicating the cosmological nature of the theme: that Christ sees everything throughout the whole of creation. At the top God the Father is depicted as a bearded old man in white garments. In the four corners are the four symbols of the evangelists, which derive from the biblical vision of an enthroned anthropomorphic deity surrounded by 'living creatures' in Ezekiel 1.

The iconography is part of a group of icons that Kondakov, in the early 20th century, categorised as 'Mystical and Didactic Subjects' which were formulated after the classical periods of icon-painting in the 17th century. Although Kondakov doesn't explicitly mention this particular type, the compositional motif can be compared to others in this group, especially the Virgin of the Burning Bush.

An early version of this iconography (dated to 1700) can be seen in the National Museum of Art in Helsinki (see fig. a).

Fig. a. The 'All Seeing Eye of God', Russian, circa 1700, National Museum of Art, Helsinki, Finland

Detail Images