The

Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Saints Zossim & Savvati - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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WW031. Saint Zosima and Saint Sabbatius

Central Russian (Moscow?)
Early 17th century
31.6 x 26.3 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

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Saints Zossim (died 1478) and Savatti (died 1438) stand on a dark ground facing each other, but offering reverence and prayer - indicated by their raised arms (orans) - to the Virgin and Christ who are shown in a celestial opening in the top-centre of the panel. They too raise their arms in prayer (orans), creating a harmonic and reflective circularity that connects the higher and lower spheres.

These two monastic saints are known for founding the Solovetsky Monastery in 1436 on an island in the White Sea of Northern Russia. Throughout the imperial period of Russian history the monastery was renowned as a strong fortress which repelled foreign attacks during the Livonian War (16th century), the Time of Troubles (17th century), the Crimean War (19th century), and the Russian Civil War (20th century). It was also the first gulag where many Russian intellectuals and artists were imprisoned by Stalin, including the great philosopher, theologian, and mathematician Pavel Florensky.

The style of this icon indicates that it was painted in the early 17th century. Compare, for example, another icon from this period in the Amrbroveneto Collection in Venice (fig. a).

Fig. a. Saint Mark the Miracle Worker, Central Russian (Moscow?), early 17th century, Amrbroveneto Collection, Venice, Italy

Fig. a (detail) WW031 (detail)

Detail Images