607. AN EXCEPTIONAL ICON OF CHRIST PANTOCRATOR IN THE MODERN STYLE
MOSCOW, WORKSHOP OF V.P. GURYANOV (?), EARLY 20TH CENTURY, .
35.5 by 31 cm
Related Literature: For similar icons, see I.V. Sosnovtseva, The Last Emperors of the Romanov Dynasty. Icon Painters from Suzdal in the Capitals //. Icon Painting of the Romanov Dynasty. The Collection of Victor Bondarenko, Moscow, 2008, no. 197, p. 324, p.333.
The icon is an outstanding example of Russian icon painting in the modern era. The traditional iconography and the Saviour’s face, painted in deference to time-honoured traditions, sit alongside the tonal gradation of the background and the exceptional ornamentation of the borders. The manner of decorating the borders with special dies on the gilded gesso, or scribed as sgraffito with a fine tool, imitated the richness of an oklad and was a distinguishing mark of the time.
A number of features allow this icon to be identified as a piece probably from the famous Moscow workshop of the Mstera icon painter, Vasily Pavlovich Guryanov (active from 1890). According to I.V. Sosnovtseva, one can see the artist “striving to smooth out the "icon" impression by bringing it closer to the "right" look, essentially a pictorial representation of the human face and body”. The other icon painters from Mstera working in Moscow, M.I. Dikarev and O.S. Chirikov, stuck more closely to ancient traditions. Close parallels with our icon are to be found in the late 19th century image of "Saint Theognostus", also attributed to the workshop of Guryanov, in the ornamentation of the halo and borders evoking the illuminated frames of the sumptuous chapter openings for books.
Therefore, there are grounds for believing this icon, without doubt one of the remarkable artefacts of late 19th — early 20th century Russian icon painting, was among those produced by the famous workshop of V.P. Guryanov at its height (the early years of the decade beginning 1910).