Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Triptych with Madonna and Child and Saints - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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VV032. Triptych with the Archangel Michael and Saint Nicholas

17th - 18th century
29.3 x 38 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

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In the centre panel of this triptych, the Virgin holds the Christ-child in the hodegetria iconography. On the left panel is the Archangel Michael holding a sword in his right hand, and the sphere in his left hand. On the right panel St Nicholas is dressed in the classical vestments of a bishop, blessing with his right hand and holding a gospel book with his left hand.

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 the current 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 earthy colours, bold forms and simple design.

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

Detail Images