London, South Kensington
14 June 2006
THE NARRATIVE OF THE NATIVITY
RUSSIAN, 19TH CENTURY
This remarkably detailed icon shows the Nativity of Christ in the cave above, surrounded by its subsequent episodes: still in the cave, is the preparation of the Child's first bath, and at the upper corners the coming of the Magi led by the star, which is held by an angel. The hills act as natural divisions between the represented scenes. Just below the Magi to the left is the Adoration of the Magi, and following in a zig-zag order is the flight into Egypt, Herod's dream, the escape of Elizabeth and John the Forerunner into the hills, the visit of the Magi to Herod's palace and lastly the Massacre of the Innocents. The titles of the episodes are inscribed around the border. This panel is unique in the Orthodox artistic production, because of the rarity of its subject and the high quality of its painting, as exemplified on the faces and the elaborate garments of the portrayed figures.
12¼ x 14 1/8 in. (31 x 36.25 cm)
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