Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Christ Pantocrator - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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VV013. Saviour

Russian, Kholui
19th century
32.2 x 25.2 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

£1,250Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

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Christ is shown in half-length, with his eyes gazing at the viewer but also with a sense of deep contemplation. His right hand is raised in a gesture signifying oration (or teaching). In his left hand he holds an open book with an inscription from the Gospel of Matthew: 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn' (11:28-30).

This icon was painted in Kholui, which, along with Palekh and Mstera, was an icon painting centre that produced icons on an industrial scale (sometimes hundreds of icons a day)[1] for pilgrims and the peasantry and thus was influenced by contemporary Russian folk art. Here this can be seen especially in Christ's floral-decorated garment. They are simple, humble works, yet 'these popular icons can exude great charm and sincerity', as Wendy R. Salmond writes about the Kholui school.[2] An example of an icon depicting the Crucifixion from a Kholui workshop can be seen in the Hillwood Museum in Washington (fig. a).

Fig. a. Crucifixion in Four parts, Kholui, 1800-1900, Hillwood Gallery, Washington, US

Another icon from the same school depicting St Nicholas can also be seen in this exhibition (cat. No. VV030).

1. Wendy R. Salmond, Tradition in Transition: Russian Icons in the Age of the Romanovs, (Washington, Hillwood Galleries, 2004), p. 57
2. Ibid. p. 59