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École de Moscou

Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God


École de Moscou


Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God


Second half of 16th c.


Tempera and gold on wood


70.1 x 60.5 cm


Gift of Graham and Elise Nesbitt, inv. 2002.114


Western Art

Although traditional in its iconography, this work demonstrates the infiltration of secular tenets into icon-painting in the later sixteenth century. Figuring in the story of Jephonias, whose hands were severed when he tried to upset a funeral cortège, is the angel, whose armour is depicted with sentiment. The sombre colours in saturated hues betray the Northern training of the artist, while the physiognomy and calm sorrowfulness of the faces are inspired by Muscovite tradition. Such a blending occurred in Moscow in the second half of the sixteenth century. The panel on which it is painted is prepared with lefkas. This word comes from the Greek “leukos” which means white which recalls the white coat on the bottom surface of the icon. It is composed of white of Meudon, Troy or Spain which is mixed with glue and on which the colours give a better transparency.

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