Russian icon | Nativity

Icon: Nativity V-12

Origin :
Central Russia
Period :
17th century
Size :
31.5 x 26.5 cm
Provenance :
Private Collection, Germany

At the centre, the new born Christ Child lies swaddled in a cave, immediately behind are an ox and a small white horse. The Mother of God is lying on a red cushion in front of the cave. To the right, the Three Wise Men riding on horsebacks point to the star of Bethlehem. In the upper left corner angels look up to the star and bring the good news to a shepherd holding a horn. In the lower right corner, Joseph sits deeply in thought, his head resting on his right hand. The old man wearing a sheepskin opposite him is open to several interpretations. He is sometimes interpreted as the devil disguised as a shepherd, casting doubt in Joseph's puzzled mind. He is also seen as the Prophet Isaiah, who reminds Joseph of his prophecy (Isaiah 7, 14) where he tells that a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a child. To the left, the naked Christ Child receives his first bath.

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