Saturday, April 07, 2007

An Easter icon

This is The Resurrection. Tatiana restored it for us - the wood had been eaten by termites, and the whole icon split into two pieces, from top to bottom! Also, much of the paint had worn off - almost all the gold was gone, most of the white from Christ's robes, and some of the faces of the smaller figures. Now you can see how beautiful it was when first painted.

The center section shows the risen Christ, standing on the fallen beams of the Gates of Hell. The figures on either side of him are Adam and Eve, coming out of their tombs (they look like stone boxes). Above them, on either side, are crowds of the virtuous dead - prophets, kings, heroes of the Old Testament, and you can see John the Baptist there too. In the West, we call this the Harrowing of Hell - all those who died before Christ are saved too, and being brought to Paradise.
On the lower left, is a big open-mouthed creature like a whale - I think this symbolizes the mouth of death opening to release the dead, and it reminds me a lot of the story of Jonah and the Whale. You can see a bearded old man lying on the ground, tied up with an angel over him - that is the Devil.

In the lower right corner is the scene of Christ breaking from the tomb, the stone rolled away and the soldiers struck unconscious. I love the stone - look at it, it isn't just a big dull, grey rock the way we always picture it in the West. It's brighly-coloured, and painted in a diamond pattern, almost like a quilt! (Though I guess it could be one of the soldiers' shields, but I don't think so - there's not much space on an icon, and I think the stone rolling away is an important part of the story, so I prefer to think that the artist would have put that in, instead of just a detail of armour.)

I'm so glad Tatiana was able to save this icon for us. It's got a power and vividness to it that are really amazing.


Blogger The Bovina Bloviator said...

Thank you good Doctor for such a lovely Easter present.

Christos anesti!

1:12 am  
Blogger Nicholodeon said...


This year all believers celebrate the glorious Resurrection on the same Sunday.

The ikona is beautiful. Thank you for presenting it.

10:44 am  
Blogger Kasia said...

Happy Easter and happy anniversary, Dr. Mabuse!

11:44 am  

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