This Russian icon painting of an eternal image is a wonderful antique piece of art and history. A figure holding and presenting the infant Jesus has been rendered impeccably flat, through many layers of pigment on a wood tablet. The scene depicted in this icon is most likely the Presentation of Christ at the Temple, which happened forty days after his birth. You can see the drying oil varnish that has been applied over the image, which is common in the painting process and illuminates the surface. Historically, the icon was made for worship, and used for the purpose of contemplating, looking inwards to a sacred space. In Russian icon painting, the painting was to be read like a text, and the image was an embodiment of spiritual phenomena.
The colors of the painting are subdued hues, from oranges to brown umbers, with soft yellow elements. The lips and eyes of the central figure stand out in the setting, as they are central in the composition and are realistically rendered, drawing the viewer in. At the lower left hand corner there is a small page with text that appears to be tucked under the baby crib. This text as well as the faded writing above the figure is in the Russian language. There is slight wear to the edge of the wood tablet but this is normal for its age, but this does not detract from the beauty of the art work. The image has been very well preserved to this day, making it quite a special piece. The original support for hanging this icon has been replaced with a more modern mount, making the icon ready to hang. The wood tablet measures 12-1/4 x 9-3/4 x 1 inch. The wooden tablet has an interior slat that stops any warping of the painting; this tells us that the piece is most likely painted after 1880, dating to the turn of the century.
1880's Presentation of Christ Russian Icon