Icon Gallery : Room 6



21. THE ANNUNCIATION


16th century
90 x 46. Egg tempera on lime wood.
From St. Parasceve's Church in the village of Dalyova (Poland). Lviv National Museum.
# i-133
146k, jpeg.


The Annunciation as subject is connected with the texts of St. Luke's Gospel and apocrypha - St. James' version of the Gospel and the Armenian Book. Scholars hold that the latter exerted the greatest influence on the formation of the iconography of this subject in Christian art. It can be found in Byzantine painting as early as the 5th century. In Kyivan Rus' there are several representations of the Annunciation in the frescos and mosaics of St. Sophia of Kyiv belonging to the first half of the 11th century. They could also be found in St. Michael's Cathedral of the Golden Dome (early 12th century) and St. Cyril's Church (second half of the 12th century). The main personages of the Annunciation are Mary and the Archangel Gabriel, God's messenger, whose coming is connected with good news concerning the immaculate conception or the incarnation of Christ.
On the icon from the village of Dalyova the Archangel Gabriel seems to be descending from the sky. Illuminated with light he has not yet folded his wings and is slowly descending to the ground which is lavishly covered with grass. In his left hand, he holds a criterion while, with his right hand, he blesses Mary. She sits with her head slightly bent, as if in readiness for a dialogue with God's messenger. The artist depicts Mary plunged in a deep reverie; her feelings, her entire poetic images are far removed from sinful earth. Above the center of the icon a radiant light is flowing from the sky, infusing the scene with divine grace.



22. THE ANNUNCIATION AND THE CONCEPTION OF ST. ANNA


Mid-16th century
88.5 x 73. Egg tempera on lime wood.
From St. Elijah's Church in the village of Lyubyni, Lviv Region. Lviv National Museum.
# i-3189
151k, jpeg.


The icon represents two subjects: The Annunciation the left side and the Conception of St. Anna on the right. As distinct from the icon from St. Parasceve's Church from the village of Dalyova (see No. 21), here the artist adheres to the canon according to which the Archangel Gabriel is represented blessing Mary with a staff. The Virgin is not sitting but standing, a spindle in her hand. The inclination of her head and the attitude of her hands testify to the fact that she is engaged in conversation with the heavenly messenger. The central upper part of the icon shows a segment of the sky lit by a ray of light, that divine grace which infuses Mary and results in the immaculate conception.
St. Anna is the wife of St. Joachim and mother of the Holy Virgin. Artists turned to her image under the influence of St. James' version of the Gospel. The icon The Conception of St. Anne depicts her praying in the garden where she is envying aloud birds which have built a nest in the tree, because she has no children. The icon comprises several episodes: St. Anna praying before the tree with the nest of birds (sometimes they are sparrows), the angel's appearance before her and the annunciation to St. Joachim, whose small figure is depicted behind his wife.
Apocryphal subjects from the lives of St.. Joachim and Anna drew the attention of painters as early as the times of Kyivan Rus', and St. Sophia of Kyiv has a special chapel where their life is illustrated in frescos.



23. THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI


Mid-16th century
131.5 x 90. Egg tempera on lime wood.
From the Church of the Synaxis of Our Lady in the village of Busovysko, Lviv region. Lviv National Museum.
# i-1552
175k, jpeg.


The subject emerged under the influence of the Gospel according to St. Matthew and illustrates the event which took place in Nazareth. Due to various points of view spread in theological literature, this subject found several versions in art. According to one of them (like in this icon), the kings worship the Child already grown, in other versions, Jesus, newly born in Bethlehem (The Nativity). Definite iconography schemes of the subject were also influenced by Roman court ceremony. Though the Gospel mentions the Magi, the three kings are also often represented, like in this icon, and from the 9th century their names (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) appeared in Byzantine art.
The representation of the subject in the Akathistos cycle promoted its popularity throughout the Ukraine. Thus, in the Akathistos cycle in St. Onuphrius' Church in the village of Lavriv, Lviv Region, there is fresco whose composition closely resembles that of the icon from the village of Busovysko. The icon, however, executed in epic forms, interprets the subject in detail. Its composition comprises two events which, in fact, took place at different times: the apotheosis of Christ and the adoration of the three kings who brought gifts (this episode is the major one in the composition and is emphasized by the scale of representation) and the event that preceded it - the kings preparing for the departure.



24. ST. NICHOLAS WITH SCENES FROM HIS LIFE


Latter half of the 16th century
135 x 124. Egg tempera on lime wood.
From the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in the village of Liskovate (Poland). Lviv National Museum.
# i-1181
166k, jpeg.


St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra in Lycia (Asia Minor) was famed during his lifetime as a model of faith and a paragon of gentleness. Legends about his good deeds and wonders he wrought brought him great fame among believers and led to his cult, especially widespread in democratic strata. St. Nicholas turned into one of the most reserved saints, and in the Ukraine he was famed as a protector from fires, a patron of travelers and a favorite hero of folklore. Many folk beliefs appeared in connection with the spring festival of St. Nicholas marking the translation of his relicts to Bari. Some legends are associated with Kyiv, e. g., The Deliverance of a Kyiv Boy From Drowning.
Hagiographic scenes on the three borders of the middle part of the icon show (left to right):


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