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HOME : Russian Icons : Russian Icons : The Good Shepherd
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The Good Shepherd - PF.5976
Origin: Russia
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 20.5" (52.1cm) high
Collection: Russian Icons
Medium: Oil on Wood Panel


Additional Information: SOLD
$1,800.00
Location: United States
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Description
Russians inherited the tradition of icon painting from Byzantium, where it began as an offshoot of the mosaic and fresco tradition. During the 8th and 9th centuries, the iconoclastic controversy in the Orthodox Church called into question whether religious images were a legitimate practice or sacrilegious idolatry. Although the use of images was in the end permitted, a thorough distinction between profane art intended to depict reality and sacred art designed for spiritual contemplation was established. That difference is one of the reasons that the artistic style of icons can seem so invariant. Certain kinds of balance and harmony became established as reflections of divinity, and as such they invited careful reproduction and subtle refinement rather than striking novelty. Although this philosophy resulted in a comparatively slow evolution of style, icon painting evolved considerably over the centuries. Unlike the pictorial traditions of the west that aspire towards increased realism and naturalism, the essence of Russian icon painting is not about the representation of physical space or appearance. Icons are images intended to aid in contemplative prayer, and in that sense, are more concerned with conveying meditative harmony than with laying out a realistic scene. They were not painted to please the eye of the mind, but to inspire reflection and self-examination. Christ is represented here carrying a lamb on his shoulders. Known as the Good Shepherd, this painting depicts an analogy made by Christ, alluding to his followers as sheep and he as the shepherd. Like a shepherd, Christ will guide his flock, protecting them from dangers and steering them down the righteous path. As Christ carries the weak young sheep on his shoulders, so he shall hold all of us in his heart and carry us towards eternal salvation in heaven. Russians inherited the tradition of icon painting from Byzantium, where it began as an offshoot of the mosaic and fresco tradition. During the 8th and 9th centuries, the iconoclastic controversy in the Orthodox Church called into question whether religious images were a legitimate practice or sacrilegious idolatry. Although the use of images was in the end permitted, a thorough distinction between profane art intended to depict reality and sacred art designed for spiritual contemplation was established. That difference is one of the reasons that the artistic style of icons can seem so invariant. Certain kinds of balance and harmony became established as reflections of divinity, and as such they invited careful reproduction and subtle refinement rather than striking novelty. Although this philosophy resulted in a comparatively slow evolution of style, icon painting evolved considerably over the centuries. Unlike the pictorial traditions of the west that aspire towards increased realism and naturalism, the essence of Russian icon painting is not about the representation of physical space or appearance. Icons are images intended to aid in contemplative prayer, and in that sense, are more concerned with conveying meditative harmony than with laying out a realistic scene. They were not painted to please the eye of the mind, but to inspire reflection and self-examination.

Christ is represented here carrying a lamb on his shoulders. Known as the Good Shepherd, this painting depicts an analogy made by Christ, alluding to his followers as sheep and he as the shepherd. Like a shepherd, Christ will guide his flock, protecting them from dangers and steering them down the righteous path. As Christ carries the weak young sheep on his shoulders, so he shall hold all of us in his heart and carry us towards eternal salvation in heaven.
- (PF.5976)

 

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