5 Icons Depicting Images of Old-Time Religion

Jesus Christ and many of the saints are represented in Russian icons that will be sold in this week’s online auction. Icons are revered pictures of Jesus, Mary or the saints and are often Russian. They are made of wood, tin, or precious metals. The icons in this auction predate the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Individual icons in this auction start at the top with the popular Christ Pantocrator. This particular icon dates to 1835 Moscow. Christ Pantocrator refers to a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator, or Pantokrator is, used in this context, a translation of one of many names of God in Judaism.

Christ Pantocrator icon, Moscow, 1835, silver riza. Estimage: $6,000-$8,000. Jasper52 image


Ranking high on the hierarchy in Russian icons is St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is represented in the auction by an 1840s icon originating in St. Petersburg, the former Russian capital. Saint Nicholas, also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic fourth-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor. He is also known as Nikolas the Wonderworker because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession.

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, St. Petersburg, 1840s, silver-gilt riza. Estimate: $5,000-$7,000. Jasper52 image


St. Habakkuk, a prophet in the Old Testament, is revered in a 19th century icon of hand-painted egg tempera and gesso on an elongated wood panel. Habakkuk is the author of the Book of Habakkuk and the eight of the collected twelve Minor Prophets.

St. Habakkuk Russian icon, 19th century, hand-painted egg tempera, gesso on wood panel. Estimate: $6,500-$8,000. Jasper52 image


Christ is the focal point of this 19th century Kholui school icon, known as The Only Begotten Son. Kholui is a small community 223 miles northeast of Moscow long known for its skilled icon painters.

Russian Icon of the Only Begotten Son, Holui School, 19th century. Estimate: $12,000-$15,000. Jasper52 image


A host of saints are depicted in a large Vetka school icon dating to the second half of the 19th century.

Selected subjects icon, Vetka school, second half 19th century. Estimate: $10,000-$12,000. Jasper52 image

Click here to view the full catalog of exceptional Russian religious icons. Auction ends on Saturday, January 28th.