The

Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Virgin and Child - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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VV016. Virgin and Child

Bulgarian
17th - 18th century
Centre panel of a Triptych
28 x 17 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

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This is the centre of what was once a Bulgarian triptych (see below for examples of how it would have looked in its complete state), showing the Virgin holding the Christ-child. Triptychs painted on panels of Beech or Alder were common in many Slavic countries across the Balkans and especially in Bulgaria, where this example was originally created.[1] Based on the research of Dr Yuri Pyatnitsky, who has studied similar triptychs at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (see fig. a and b), we can broadly date this icon to the 17th-18th century.[2]


Fig. a. Triptych with the Mother of God Hodegetria and Saints, Bulgarian, 17th-18th century. The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Fig. b. Triptych with the Virgin of the Sign and Saints, Bulgarian, 17th-18th century. The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

These icons are painted in the style that Pyatnitsky calls 'folk primitivism' and have a warm, natural feel that is typical of Bulgarian icon-painting in this period with rich earth colours, bold forms and simple design.




Footnotes:-
1. Y. Pyatnitsky in Athos: Monastic Life on the Holy Mountain, (Helsinki, Helsinki City Art Museum, 2005), p. 238
2. Ibid.