Russian icon | Annunciation

Icon: Annunciation B-12

Origin :
Russia, Volga-region
Period :
mid-17th century
Size :
72.5 x 56 cm
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The event 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 towards the Virgin Mary with his right hand. Mary, startled by the archangel’s sudden appearance, has stood up from her seat to greet the unexpected visitor. She is holding a thread of wool in her hands, a detail which alludes 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, during Christ’s Crucifixion when the earth shook, the Temple curtain, for which Mary had spun thread, was torn in two. In the upper centre of the icon a ray of light with the dove of the Holy Spirit descends onto Mary from a celestial segment.