Orthodox icon | Five Great Feasts | Bronze | 24628
- Typ: Russian icon
- Material: Metal-/Bronze-/Brass icon
- Age: Beginning of the 19th century
- Size: 13.5 x 8 cm | 5.3 x 3.1 in
Orthodox icon | Five Great Feasts | Bronze | 24628.
This is a bronze/brass/yellow metal icon adorned with multicolored enamel. It was once part of a larger Tetraptych.
It consists of the following parts:
Crucifixion of Jesus (Great and Holy Friday):
The crucified Jesus features in the middle. The Mother of God and Saint Mary Magdalene appear on the left side. Saint Apostle John the Theologian and Captain Longinus populate the right side. Above the crucifixion scene, an image of the mandylion, the “not human-made image” of Christ from Edessa, is present, accompanied by two angels.
Annunciation of the Blessed Mother (March 25):
This image showcases the start of the Incarnation of the Son of God, a significant Christian theme. Gabriel, God’s messenger, tells Mary she will bear a child, Emmanuel, the Son of the Most High. As the Holy Spirit overshadows Mary, she becomes known as the Son of God’s mother.
Birth of Jesus (December 25):
This icon highlights a cave, differing from Western depictions set in a stable. Joseph and Mary, who is pregnant, take refuge in a cave amidst the mountains around Bethlehem. The cave signifies both Jesus’s birthplace and the realm of death.
The star and angels embody the Trinity’s presence, with the ox and donkey standing for Jews and Gentiles. The magi, bearing their gifts, represent the women at the tomb with oils and ointments.
Birth of the Mother of God (September 8):
This feast traces its origins to the 6th/7th century and was officially included in the Eastern church calendar in the 9th century. Non-canonical (apocryphal) narratives provide detailed accounts of Mary’s birth. These accounts focus on the answered prayers of Joachim and Anna, a childless couple, and they highlight the miraculous events in the childhood and youth of the future Mother of God.
The icon presents Saint Anne in childbirth, with neighborhood women offering refreshments around her and midwives bathing the child. Sometimes, the icon also shows Saint Joachim observing the scene through a door.
Presentation of the Mother of God (November 21):
Joachim and Anna made a vow to offer their daughter Mary as a temple virgin when she turned three. Apocryphal books narrate the story of Mary’s presentation at the temple. On November 20, 543, Emperor Justinian established the Church of St. Mary in Jerusalem.
The Orthodox church added the feast to their calendar in the mid-12th century. After the 9th century’s iconoclast period, depictions of Mary’s passage through the temple slowly became common in monumental and icon painting, reaching peak popularity during the High Middle Ages.