19th cent. 43.5x39x3 cms.
This Church lectern icon takes its inspiration from The Cathedral of The Transfiguration in St Petersburg.This icon has been cleaned of generations of dirt, re-gilded and re-varnished to reveal the detail of the original rose gold gilding and painted jewels.
“Mandylion” is also known as “The image not made by hands.”In iconographic legend this was the first icon ever made. Made by The Saviour himself when He impressed His face on a napkin that was later taken by a courtier to the king of Edessa who was suffering from a facial malady. The infliction was cured when the napkin was applied except for one small area which too was healed when Abgar the kind converted to Christianity.
Usually, Christ’s face is surrounded by a napkin but a sizeable minority have it framed by a metal oklad or, as here, a gilded and painted be-jewelled corona. However, this image is unusual in showing the corona almost as a crown of thorns to emphasise not only His divine miraculous powers but his sacrificial suffering and love for mankind.
The icon, bought on the European art market, is composed of two boards that have been joined with gesso applied and decorated as described.The boards have become arched. There is evidence of two mortices but the accompanying battens are no longer present.