Russian icon | Baptism of Christ

Icon: Baptism of Christ H-13

Origin :
Russia, Jaroslavl
Period :
second half 17th century
Size :
18 x 15 cm
Provenance :
Christie’s London, 10 December 1968, lot 82 | Private collection London since the 1970's

Christ is depicted standing in three quarter profile in the dark blue River Jordan. St John the Forerunner, who is pictured bowing deeply and standing on the left bank of the river, stretches out his hand towards Christ to baptise him. On the other bank, three angels with their hands covered, are watching the scene. The Holy Spirit descends from a segment of Heaven where God the Father appears. 

The feast of the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan is celebrated on  January 6 and, together with Easter, constitutes one of Christianity’s oldest feasts. With the Baptism one celebrates the appearance (Epiphany) of God in Jesus. In other words, it is the first time Christ shows himself to humanity as God. From that moment on, Jesus is known as Christ and St John the Forerunner as the Baptist.

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