Russian Orthodox Antique Icon of Virgin of Кazan (Казанская
икона Божией Матери) in Bronze with Polychrome Enamel, last
quarter of XIX - early XX Century.
In bronze and enamels; measures 100 mm x 114 mm
(approximately 4 " x 4 ½"). The enamels are of five
different colors: dark blue, blue, azure, white (with slight
bluish tinge), and fern green. This was an uncommonly
laborious and expensive technique: vast majority of other
Russian bronze icons of the period have enamels of no more
than two or three colors.
The image in the center is of the Virgin and Child, a very
important subject in Russian Orthodox iconography. It is
inspired by the much revered icon of Kazan Mother of God
(aka Icon of Virgin of Kazan or Kazan Hodegetria). The
original icon is said to have been miraculously discovered
in the city of Kazan in 1579, some quarter century after its
conquest by Ivan the Terrible and the onset efforts to
convert its Tartar natives to Christianity. According to
Eastern Orthodox tradition, a devout young maiden found the
spot where the icon was buried in the ground after having a
vision of Mary three times in her sleep; the icon was then
dug-up by the girl with the help of her mother. Many
miracles were immediately attributed to it, especially as
regards curing blindness. On tsar's orders a new female
monastery was built on the spot, and the icon was
permanently placed there. Over the following centuries
copies of the Virgin of Kazan were installed in thousands of
churches and countless private houses in Russia, but the
original was lost to thieves in the summer of 1904 (many
believed that this event led to the Russia's defeat in the
war against Japan).
The icon is in outstanding, excellent condition. The enamel
is exceptionally well-preserved: it is completely free of
the usual chips, flaking or repairs, and retains luster.
There is only minimal wear to the high points of the artwork
which remains beautifully detailed. The edges of the frame
have only a few tiny dings, no dents, significant scratches
or any other significant flaws.
Please note, pen in our photo is for size reference.