Most Famous Types of the Russian Icon of Jesus Christ
Icon painting is the oldest form of religious art, which has a long, ambiguous history. It is interesting that in the Old Testament, the creation of idols and icons was prohibited because back then, God had not yet appeared on earth, which meant that any image of Him would be untrue. However, that tradition was destined to change, and, as a result, numerous divine examples of religious icon art, including the Russian icon of Jesus Christ, appeared.
In 787, at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, icon worship was recognized among the tenets of the Christian Church. The creation of idols was still prohibited, but icon painting got another interpretation. Since Jesus was incarnated in a human body, and His first celestial portrait was not made by hand, religious icons of Christ got the right to exist. Since then, the image of the Messiah has become one of the main subjects for Christian iconography. Below are some of the most famous types of the Russian icon of Jesus Christ:
Savior Made Without Hands
As the name implies, Savior Made Without Hands (see photo above) is an image of the Son of God, which was not created by human effort, but appeared with the permission of the Lord. There are different legends about the origin of this deeply venerated Russian Orthodox icon. According to one of them, the wonderworking relic appeared on the handkerchief of the merciful woman Veronica, who wiped the face of the Savior carrying the cross to Calvary. Others believe that the shrine was granted to the King of Edessa, Abgar, who suffered from leprosy. In the Orthodox tradition, the face of the Messiah in this icon is depicted peaceful and calm.
In this type of the Russian icon of Jesus Christ, the Lord appears as a middle-aged man, with straight shoulder-length hair, small mustache, and a short beard. The right hand of the Savior is put on the Gospel, while His left is raised in a gesture of blessing. Christ can be depicted full-length, half-length, or sitting on a throne.
This iconographic type is in many ways similar to the previous one, but the Son of God is always depicted full-length, seating on the throne. Angels, saints, and seraphims are often portrayed around Jesus Christ. Sometimes, the figures of emperors, kings, and archbishops are placed in front of Him, expressing the idea of the sacred origin of their power.
Christ in Majesty
This Russian icon of Jesus Christ dates back to the 14th-15th centuries. The Messiah is depicted seating on the throne against the background of a red square (the symbol of the earth) and a blue circle (the symbol of the heavenly sphere). The figure of the Savior is also surrounded by a scarlet halo representing His divine nature and the revelation He brought to people. A vast number of remarkable old Russian icons are performed in this visual tradition, including the famous icon by Andrei Rublev painted in 1408.