HHIIcon of the Resurrection, with the MonogenisWM 1

Icon of the Resurrection, with the Monogenis

The icons of the Resurrection – the Harrowing of Hades have many variations, each presenting different combinations of figures and scenes that you can see on the panel. The given icon is distinguished for the inclusion of “The Only Begotten Son” scene, also called the Monogenis. It is one of 16 scenes painted by a presumably Palekh master in the 1840s. This piece occupies a special place in our private collection and our hearts. Let’s get a closer look at the icon of the Resurrection, with the Monogenis, Four Evangelists, and Church Feasts in 16 border scenes.

Icon of the Resurrection, with the Monogenis

The scene of “The Resurrection – The Harrowing of Hades,” which is traditionally a centerpiece of the icon, is surrounded by the Twelve Great and Minor Feasts. Such works were especially popular back in the 18th and 19th centuries, which is why the production of the Resurrection icons was put on stream, with icon painters meeting the financial capabilities and taste preferences of any commissioner of the time. Palekh, a settlement in central Russia, gave birth to quite a few iconographers who were the first to have developed various religious schemes and standardized the techniques.

The composition of the icon of the Resurrection typically consists of several scenes. Their number depends on the icon’s size and the icon painter’s skills. In the featured piece, we see only a few such parts. Special attention should be paid to the Monogenis, or “The Only Begotten Son” board. It is placed in the medallion, which is right in the center of the upmost tier. In the scene, there is an illustration of a troparion (a hymn) to the Church teaching on the Economy of Salvation. The fact that it was included in the composition and deliberately emphasized means that the icon painter(s) might have wanted to stress the eschatological nature of the whole icon.

There are several things that make this icon of the Resurrection particularly precious. First and foremost, it is a miniature manner of painting, which is a sign of the iconographer’s meticulous artistry. Also, pay attention to the dry gold hatching and dark color pallet because both parameters are the attributes of the traditionalist movement widespread in Russian icon art in the second quarter of the 19th century. Last but not least, the icon of the Resurrection features a Baroque-style silver embossed oklad executed in St. Petersburg in 1849. It seems as if the framing is in harmony with the color code and mood, which adds finishing touches to the holy work.