Russian icon | Archangel Gabriel

Icon: Archangel Gabriel T-13

Northern Russia / Karelia, late 16th century
Tempera on wood, 100 x 45 cm
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The Archangel Gabriel is painted against a green background, holding a staff in his left hand and a transparent sphere or diskos with a monogram of Christ in his right hand. He wears a bright orange tunic and a blue mantle. His wings and staff allude to his function as a messenger of God. Divine wind moves the ribbon in Gabriel’s hair as he receives God’s messages.

The icon comes from the Deisis tier of an iconostasis of a Russian orthodox church. The Deisis tier is the most important row in the iconostasis. In the centre of such a tier is an icon of Christ judging mankind, flanked right and left by saints and angels praying with bowed head. The Archangel Gabriel is always placed to the right of the central Christ figure in the Deisis, next to St John the Forerunner.