Temple Gallery

Established 1959

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

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VV031. Triptych with Mother of God and Female Saints

17th - 18th century
28.2 x 35.5 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

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In the centre panel the Mother of God, dressed in a maphorion, holds the Christ-child with her left hand, and gestures towards Jesus with her right hand - a typology known as the Hodegetria (she who shows the way). Christ holds a sealed scroll in his left hand and blesses with his right. On the two side panels are two female saints.

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 created. The research of Dr Yuri Pyatnitsky at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg reveals that icons of this type were created between the 17th and 19th centuries in Bulgaria. These works are painted in a style that Pyatnitsky calls 'folk primitivism', and have a warm, natural feel with rich, earth colours, bold forms and simple design.[1] Because of the manner in which the garments have been painted in the current example, we can date this triptych to around the 17th-18th century.

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

Detail Images