Russian icon | Anastasis

Icon: Anastasis T-17

Russia, Volga-region, probably Kostroma, second half 17th century
Tempera on wood, 73.5 x 53 cm
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The different scenes of this finely painted Anastasis icon are not clearly delineated but flow seamlessly into one another. The Slavonic texts carefully written in black on the ochre coloured border explain the scenes. Christ is depicted twice in the centre of the icon: rising from the grave and descending into hell. The actual moment of the Resurrection, when Christ rises from the grave, is represented in the upper part of the icon. Christ is making a sign of blessing with his right hand and is holding a cross with his other hand. To the right, the Roman soldiers are lying asleep. Below, Christ is depicted descending with a fluttering mantle into hell from a rocky landscape. He is crushing the gates of hell with both feet. Behind these gates lies a dark pit. With his left hand He raises Adam from the grave and with his other hand He makes a sign of blessing. Adam rises up, the first mortal to be thus released from Hades. To the right, Eve is kneeling while turning towards the Saviour. Her hands, raised in prayer, are veiled as a sign of respect. In the lower left corner, angels are beating devils. In the upper right corner of the icon, the Repentant Thief is received into walled Paradise by the two prophets Enoch and Elijah, who according to tradition did not die but sailed to heaven while still alive. It is this same Repentant Thief who welcomes the ‘chorus of prophets and patriarchs’ to the gateway of Paradise guarded by a red cherub.  Lower right, Christ is calling the apostles by Lake Galilee. In the upper left corner, the Crucifixion is depicted. In the upper part of the composition three more scenes are represented: the Myrrh-bearing Women at the empty grave, with the angel who explains that Christ is risen, the Ascension of Christ and the Supper at Emmaus. In the centre of the upper border the New Testament Trinity is shown.