The set of Marian icons is a compendium of small border scenes depicting venerated icons of the Mother of God. The iconography is derived from bigger-size engravings that appeared in the 18the century and contained various numbers of images arranged in arbitrary order or in accordance with the Menologion.

The iconography was based on printed sheets depicting venerated icons that had become widespread in Poland and Lesser Russia in the 17th century and later appeared in Rus. Large engravings were cut into separate images to be used for illustrated books of stories about miraculous icons of the Mother of God. These engravings were created by engraver Grigory Tepchegorsky in 1713 – 14 based on various sources including the literary ones. In 1715-16, Simeon Mokhovikov, a gate-keeper of the Kremlin’s Annunciation Cathedral made handwritten descriptions of icons entitled The Sun Most Bright illustrating them by the engravings which contemporary historians ascribe to Grigory Tepchegorsky. The general concept of this edition was to produce a full set of miraculous icons venerated both in Russia and other Christian countries. Each page of the book reproduced an icon with Mokhovikov’s comments on the date and circumstances of the icon’s appearance and the miracles it produced. Some of his engravings such as icons of the Mother of God Evtropyevskaya, Yaskinskaya, Galanskaya, Tumbovskaya, Grigory Tepchegorsky borrowed from the book New Heaven. This was the reason why contemporary researchers have found numerous inconsistencies in Mokhovikov’s comments as well as many Virgin images that Tepchegorsky had created himself.

The earliest example of this iconography is a frame for the icon of Our Lady of Vladimir with a set of the Marian icons produced by the iconographer Ivan Dorofeev in 1722 on commission from an hieromonk of the Chudov Monaster in Moscow’s Kremlin Nikona Dranitsyn (in a private collection in Moscow). The frame was the customer’s contribution to Moscow’s church of Peter and Paul for “eternal commemoration.”

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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