Russian icon | Annunciation

Icon: Annunciation H-5

Origin :
Russia, Vologda region
Period :
16th century
Size :
54 x 37.5 cm
Provenance :
Collection Mary Moody Northen (1892-1986), Texas, USA, thence by descent

The classical scene of the Annunciation is set against a stylised architectural background. To the left is the Archangel Gabriel, holding a messenger staff and making a gesture of blessing with his right hand towards the Virgin Mary who is seated to the right. The Virgin is greeting the unexpected visitor by raising both hands. 

The Virgin holds a thread of wool in her hands, a detail alluding to a passage from the apocryphal Proto-Evangelium of James. Mary was spinning purple thread for the new curtain for the Temple in Jerusalem, which had to  be  made  by  eight  virgins  from  the  house  of  David. Many years later, when the earth shook during Christ’s Crucifixion, the Temple curtain for which Mary had spun thread, was torn in two. 

The style of painting of this icon points towards a provenance from the Vologda-region and towards a dating in the 16th century.

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