Lot 166A: 18th C. Russian Bronze Traveling Icon - St. Nicholas

Artemis Gallery

March 15, 2018
Louisville, CO, US

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Description: Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. 18th century CE. A petite mold-made bronze traveling icon depicting the miracle-working St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the most widely-revered saint in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Believed to possess special powers to protect the faithful, this archetypal Bishop and Saint is dressed in sumptuous episcopal vestments, with a cross-adorned omophorion, giving benediction with his right hand, and holding the Holy Gospel in his left. St. Nicholas himself is surrounded by four saintly figures. An unperforated suspension tab rests above the saintly iconography, and the entire icon is enveloped in a lustrous dark-brown patina. Size: 2.1" W x 2.5" H (5.3 cm x 6.4 cm).

Nicholas, a Greek bishop of Myra, Anatolia in the 4th century and one of the most beloved saints of the church, who served as an intercessor, performing miracles of healing and rescue, has an interesting history. A strong opponent of the heretical bishop Arius at the Council of Nicaea, Nicholas, after slapping Arius in the face, was denied his holy insignia and tossed in jail. However, Christ and the Virgin appeared to him (figured in this icon as well) and gave him back his freedom and his episcopal office.

Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection

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Condition Report: Age-commensurate surface wear, small chips and nicks along lateral sides on verso, slight bending to overall form, with fading to some details, otherwise very good. Nice dark-brown patina throughout.
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