brass icons





Greek Icon

19th century

The Resurrection

Oil on gold leaf ground

1/4" x 18 3/4"


The "Voskresenie", or Resurrection, is the most important festival of the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is also the Russian word both for "Sunday", a left leaning, quasi-Masonic sect which existed in Petrograd between 1918 and 1928, and Russia's most popular contemporary rock group. Originally Orthodox icons did not depict the actual resurrection but used "The Descent into Hell" to symbolize it. Western artists depicted the moment when the tomb was opened as the Roman soldiers
slept more often. As the centurions realize their dereliction of duty and the nature of the miraculous event they
become horrified.

This particular Greek icon portrays two of the soldiers awakening while one still sleeps. The linen grave clothes lie empty within the tomb. An angel witnesses the scene while the women who were the first to report on Christ's return are seen coming from town in the background. The three crosses on Golgotha can also be seen in the distance. It is painted with oil paint on a gold ground with deeply engraved lines emanating from Christ's halo.There is some restoration at the bottom but is in good shape otherwise. There are two "Shponki", the wooden wedges that prevent expansion and contraction of the wood, on the back. At 13 1/4 by 18 3/4 inches, it is larger than the typical household icon.The Western influences are evident in the modeling of the figures, the use of oil paint and the composition's diagonal thrust.