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HOME : Russian Icons : Russian Icons : The Crucifixion and Four Mother of God Scenes
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The Crucifixion and Four Mother of God Scenes - PF.5736
Origin: Russia
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 15" (38.1cm) high
Collection: Russian Icons
Medium: Tempera on Wood

Location: United States
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Inseparable from the liturgical tradition, religious art is seen by Orthodox Christians as a form of pictorial confession of faith and a channel of religious experience. Because the icons provide direct personal contact with the holy persons represented on them, these images were objects of veneration, in either a public or private setting, and were even believed to have the ability to heal.

The central image of the Crucifixion divides the composition into four smaller panels, each filled with a portrait of the Virgin. God supreme rules above from the heavens, seen in the upper center of the icon. Emerging from the clouds, he the world in his hand, creator and master of all. The depiction of the crucifixion is rather peaceful. The cross rises out of the ground, above the skull and crossbones, legendarily reputed to be those of Adam. Thus as Christ dies to atone for the sins of mankind, his blood flows down onto the remains of the first man, symbolically washing away the original sin. Four representations of Mary fill the remainder of the composition. She is crowned, the Queen of Heaven, in the upper left and as the Mother of God in the upper right. The two lower panels depict her as Mother of Joy for All Who Suffer, pierced by six white swords, on the left and as the Mother of God of Tenderness on the right. Mary also appears in the crucifixion to the left of the arm of the cross while St. John the Evangelist present at the right. Stylistically, much is derived from earlier Byzantine paintings and mosaics. This influence can be identified in the stiff linear folds of the figures drapers, and in the lack of an elaboration of space aside from the solid gold leaf background that symbolizes the luminosity of Heaven. Overall, this icon transports the viewer from the world of earthly suffering and sin, to the divine realm and eternal life of heaven.
- (PF.5736)


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