Russian Icon: The Exaltation of the Cross | 1671

1671

19th century, Central Russia. Egg tempera, gold leaf and gesso on wood. Two splints in the back. Size: 14 x 12 in (35.5 x 30.5 cm).

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The Exaltation Of The Cross (Bozdvizhenie Cresta), is based on the ceremony that is believed to have originated in Jerusalem after the dedication of the Basilisa of the Resuraction, build by the Emperor Constantine, whose Edict of Mila legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire.

The type depicts the cross being raised up before the people. In some examples it is held only by Bishop Makarius of Jerusalem. The Empress Helena and the Emperor Constantine look on. In the pattern shown, Bishop Makariy holds his hands aloft, but they are empty; the painter would have added the cross to the finished icon.

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