Elevation of the Cross, with the Feasts

Iconography:  Elevation of Honored and Life-Giving Cross of Our Lord, The, Selected holidays

Date: XIX century. 1826.

Iconographic school/art center:  The Palekh iconographic school

Icon-painter: Pershin, Evstignei

Origin: Donated by S.F.Paklina in 1940.

Material: Wood, levkas, tempera, gold

Dimensions:  height 35,5 cm, width 31,2 cm

In the centerpiece is a multi-figured composition of The Elevation of the Cross. The border scenes and corners of the centerpiece depict the evangelists. On the upper left margin is John the Evangelist on Pathmos Island with his disciple Prochorous. At the right upper corner is Matthew the Evangelist. On the bottom left is the figure of Luke painting the icon of the Theotokos, on his left is Mark the Evangelist. The images of the Evangelists correspond to the apocryphal text entitled The Conversation of the Three Saints in which the evangelists are referred to the four parts of the world: Matthew in the East, Mark in the West, John in the North and Luke in the South. Miniature depictions of the evangelists in the icon corners or the centerpiece represent the special features of the Palekh artistic style. The icon by Evstigney Pershin is the best illustration of the specific features of the Palekh iconographic style of the 1820-30. In the facial painting one can observe a certain contrast between dark sankir preparation and the whites highlighting cheeks, nose, forehead and clearly visible rouge. Due to thick and opaque coating of paint the color scheme looks more intensive compared to the icons painted at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, with brownish-ochre tones and complex shades of red prevailing in the color palette. The volumes are modeled, to a large extent, by color highlights while gold is more perceived as paint. The ornamentation of clothes looks so lifelike that one can almost feel the tissue of expensive parchment and stamped velvet, this impression being achieved through horizontal and golden hatching. The vestments have become less ornamented and almost lack neckpieces, cuffs with pearl brocades and precious stones. The architecture is not decorated with conditional white rosettes and curls with shadings. Multi-colored chambers almost realistically feature elements of architectural and sculptural décor with contrast pigments added to the white. On the Cross and the floor-boards one can see almost invisible wooden pattern. Light exquisite mountains are outlined with red-brown color in contrast with light white ledges. The icon margins feature the following feasts:

1.The Nativity of the Mother of God;

2. The Entrance of the Mother of God into the temple;

3. The Descent into Hell;

4. The Annunciation;

5. The Nativity of Jesus Christ;

6. The Meeting of Our Lord;

7. The Epiphany;

8. The Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem;

9. The Transfiguration of Our Lord;

10. The Ascension of Our Lord;

11. The Assumption of the Mother of God;

12. The Synaxis of the Archangel Michael;

13. The Trinity (Abraham’s hospitality);

14. The Descent of the Holy Spirit;

15. The Beheading of John the Baptist;

16. The Fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah.

Registration number ГМПИ 1606\596. ДИ-20-И. © The State Museum of Palekh Art

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