Feast-day icon

Region: Russia (Palekh)
Period: Second half 18th century
Size: 31 x 26 cm


Anyone who assumes that the finely painted feast-day icons from the renowned village of Palekh were mainly an expression of artistic craftsmanship, and that owning such a precious icon was primarily a sign of prestige and status, is misguided. Those who stand before this extremely finely painted Feast-day icon, which can be counted among the absolute masterpieces of its genre, will experience a deeper meaning of fine painting.

As icon painters had pious intentions and saw their work as a form of prayer, creating a highly detailed icon such as the one depicted here, must also be seen as an act of devotion and dedication to the faith and a way for the painter to express their own religious beliefs, to honour the divine meaning of the icon and to convey a profound spiritual message.

Possession of such an exquisite icon not only indicated a patron’s prosperity, but also signified great commitment to the faith and a sincere devotion to expressing and disseminating religious teachings.

While the primary purpose of these icons was religious, the meticulous attention to detail also had broader cultural and artistic implications. This finely painted icon, in which the ever-evolving technique and style of many generations of icon painters has culminated, reflects a synthesis of religious devotion, artistic tradition, and cultural expression.