Russian icon | The Annunciation and the Passion of Christ

Icon: The Annunciation and the Passion of Christ B-4

Russia, Vologda-region, late 16th / early 17th century
Tempera on panel, 32 x 27 cm

Christie’s London, 21 June 1977, Lot 63
Christie’s London, 20 October 1977, Lot 224
Private collection, Germany
Morsink Icon Gallery, Amsterdam
ALR Ref. No.: S00153391


This rare and mystical icon of the Annunciation focuses on the announcement of the Passion to the Mother of God and the Christ Child. The Archangel Gabriel stands to the left, bowing his head in reverence, with wings outspread. He is dressed in bright red pants, a short dark blue tunic and a red mantle. With his right hand he is making a speaking gesture towards the Virgin and the Christ Child to the right. With his left hand he holds a large Russian Orthodox three-bar cross, together with the lance and the stick with the vinegar sponge. The Virgin to the right is standing on a red cushion, which emphasizes her elevated nature. She slightly bows her head in reverence towards the angel and is traditionally dressed in a blue tunic and a purple-red maphorion. With both hands she holds the Christ Child, who turns away from the angel in fear for his future suffering, but at the same time looks up at him with a friendly face. With his right hand Christ is making a sign of blessing and with his other hand he holds a closed scroll.  

The iconography is very rare on icons and only very few examples with this subject are known. One is a 19th century icon from the Annunciation Cathedral in Solvychegodsk, the old burial church of the Stroganov family.