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Artifacts; Original Drawings, Paintings, Icons, Calligraphy;
This object was both dry and damp cleaned according to directions from a conservation expert when it was received at Clemens Library.
The original painting on a flat, rectangular plywood panel cut cross-grain depicts the full-length figure of Christ Pantocrator. The back and sides of the panel are stained dark brown or black. The panel face is painted with an outer border of brown embellished with a repeated design painted in gold. This design is composed of alternating straight and opposed arched lines that shelter three-point sprigs. An inner narrow gold band frames image.
The upper 2/3 of the picture plane’s background is painted gold. The bottom lower 1/3 is a band of deep green. Between the green and gold rise a range of rugged mountains in the distance.
The figure of Christ stands on a floating ellipse that is a green-black shape at its core, outlined in lighter versions of the same green-black color and rimmed in increasingly more vivid tints of red, highlighted with gold. These colors are painted in energetic but controlled shapes arranged concentrically. The Greek abbreviations on either side of the figure’s halo name him as Jesus Christ. The icon’s title is inscribed in Russian with red letters against the gold background.
Christ is clothed in the exact colors of the ellipse: red inner garment (chiton) with deep green outer garment (himation). Christ raises his right hand in a gesture of blessing. In his left hand he holds an open Gospel book. The pages are inscribed with legible Russian text. Christ’s halo is delineated with a cross and marked with the Greek abbreviation for “the one who is”, identifying Christ with God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3.14). The halo is further embellished with a raised painted gold design.
There are thirteen unsigned icons (1.013-1.1.025) that bear resemblance to two icons—Archangels Michael and Raphael—that Mary Sullivan sent to Sharon Froehle and that now hang in the CSB Development office. Mary Sullivan verified that those two, unsigned icons were written by Tatiana Ronskaya. The similarities between those and these thirteen icons in the Sullivan bequest include the fact that all have boards prepared similarly: they are all thick plywood boards, very straight and flat; all are painted or stained on sides and back (which, unlike the panel face, are not gessoed.) Decorative embellishments, especially border designs, are raised. Only the icon of Saints Peter and Paul (1.025) does not have a raised design on its border. The style of painting is very similar. The calligraphy inscribing the images is quite carefully executed in each case.