Such small half-length or shoulder-length images are for private prayer and would be used in a domestic setting. A traditional Russian Orthodox house would have a special shrine or ‘beautiful corner’ (r. krasnuiy ugol) in the main room and consisting of a shelf or shelves across the angle in the corner on which were family icons: Christ, the Mother of God, St Nicholas, name saints of family members and others icons of special significance to that particular household. A person entering would venerate the icons (bowing towards them and crossing themselves) before greeting the people in the room.
The church authorities had decreed that Andrei Rublyov’s famous prototype, painted in 1408, should be used as a model by icon painters. Thus the form of painting varies little from the 16th to the 19th century.