Russian icon | Christ ‘the Fiery Eye'

Icon: Christ ‘the Fiery Eye' K-2

Russia, Moscow, mid-16th century
Tempera on panel, 32 x 25.3 cm

Private Collection, Germany
Morsink Icon Gallery, Amsterdam
ALR Ref. No: S00202703

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This expressive image of Christ is known in Russia as ‘the Fiery Eye’(Jarkoe Oko). The type, which only shows the head and shoulders of Christ, undoubtedly derives from larger portraits of the Pantocrator found in dome and apse mosaics and frescos. The Russian icons of this type refer to the monumental 13th-century icon of Christ, now in the Annunciation Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. This powerful type of portrait icon of Christ became especially popular in Russia in the second half of the 16th century.

This icon of the Saviour of the Fiery Eye exemplifies a deep devotion. The harmonious rhythm of the composition, balanced structure and serene face of Christ endow the image with great eloquence. The way in which this icon must have inspired the faithful during the sixteenth century can still be felt by the modern viewer.