Wed, 1st Dec 2021 14:00

ICONASTAS: Fine Russian Art & Antiques from the Renowned London Gallery

  Lot 73


An icon of St Demetri the Warrior Saint

An icon of St Demetri the Warrior Saint,
c.1600, Russia,
tempera and gold on panel
38 x 30.5cm

Provenance: Iconastas, Piccadilly Arcade, St James's, London, W1.

The youthful saint is portrayed front on, beardless and with short hair. He is dressed in lamellar armour and a circular breastplate, complemented by a long green cape fastened on his chest with a brooch. He holds a sword in his left hand, while his shield hangs behind his left shoulder. The foreground of the composition has some low and sparse vegetation. The icon is executed in the traditional Byzantine style, according to which the figures are austere and the portrayals not rooted in realism.

The subject of St Demetri Solunsky of Thessalonika is popular as he represents the triumph of good over evil, the virtues of loyalty and perseverance, as well as the eventual recognition of these attributes by God and their rewarding with eternal life. In other words, the youthful warrior saint acts as a model and inspiration of how a real Christian should be. Yet, his representations are rare in the market. Even more uncommon are his early images, as the one presented herewith. Apart from its early dating, this icon of St Demetri is painted by a talented artist, who was well conversant with the principles of the traditional Byzantine style of icon painting.

Икона «Святой Димитрий Мироточец»
Около 1600г., Россия
Доска, темпера, золото
28 х 30,5см

Происхождение: Иконастас, Аркада Пикадилли, Сент-Джеймс, Лондон, W1

Юный святой изображается лицом вперёд, небородатый и с коротками волосами. Он носит ламеллярный доспех и круглый нагрудник, с длинным зелёным плащем, застёгнутым к груди брошью. Он держит меч в левой руке, и щит висит за левым плечом. На переднем плане низкая и тощая растительность. Икона придерживается к традиционному византийскому стилю, согласно которому все фигуры лаконичны и изображения не реалистичны.

Сюжет Святого Димитрия из Салоников является популярным, так как он представляет победу добра над злом, достоинства верности и настойчивости, и конечное признание этих признаков Богом и награждение за них вечной жизнью. Иначе говоря, юный святой воин служит примером идеального христианина. Тем не менее, изображения его на рынке редко бывают. Ещё реже – первые образы его, в том числе этот пример. Кроме раннего датирования, эту икону Святого Димитрия написал талантливый художник, сведущий в принципах традиционного византийского стиля иконописи.

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Sold for £2,200

Condition report

The panel consists of two planks that appear in good and stable condition. The two horizontal battons, which were inserted in order to strengthen the solidity of the wood, are still in place. There are three small holes next to each other on the upper part, which wee created due to the fitting and subsequent removal of fixtures for hanging the icon. There is also an inscription in red that identifies the subject. The panel is overall in a very good state of conservation. The painted surface is generally in a very satisfactory condition. It seems that there was an inscription on the upper border, which is now missing. There are small areas of restoration on the background, as well as on the raised border, which do not in any way affect the figural representation. The figure of the saint is in an excellent condition, which fine and consistent craquelure throughout the surface.



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Auction: ICONASTAS: Fine Russian Art & Antiques from the Renowned London Gallery, Wed, 1st Dec 2021

We are delighted to be able to welcome you to our latest sale, held as part of Russian Art Week: Autumn 2021.

The Piccadilly Arcade gallery was established by Chris Martin-Zakheim and John Gaze in 1974, specialising in Russian icons, works of art, and antiquities, until it closed its doors in 2018, having cemented a reputation as one of the industry’s leading specialists.

This sale, which is the first of several auctions of Iconastas stock, includes icons dating from the 14th to 20th centuries, soviet porcelain, works of art and propaganda, and also features icons from the personal collection of the late Chris Martin-Zakheim, whose premature passing after a brain-tumour diagnosis prompted the gallery’s closure.

Particular highlights of this sale are two icons formerly in the collection of George Hann (1890-1979), a pioneer of American aviation who assembled one of the world’s finest private collections, previously sold in a landmark auction at Christie’s after his death. He acquired many pieces directly from the Russian State in the 1930s, when the Soviet government sold a great number of artworks from the nation’s important collections. The two icons bear labels and inventory numbers for the State Tretyakov Gallery.

We are grateful to Nathalie Farman-Farma of the design studio Décors Barbares, who has kindly provided a selection of Russian, Central Asian and Eastern-inspired textiles, which have been used throughout the catalogue to highlight and accentuate the colours and motifs of the artworks, proving also that works of such distinguished heritage can be blended seamlessly into a modern decorative setting.

In person bidding is available, please visit below to book or call 01279 817778.

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We will be offering viewing by appointment only, to be held at our London Gallery, 15 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ.  One hour time slots will be available from:

Thurs 25 Nov, 10am - 7pm 

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Sun 28 Nov, 12 noon - 4pm

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