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Three-Handed Mother of God

Vasilevskii, R.V. (icon); Maslennikov, Iakov (oklad)
1743 (icon); 1790 (oklad)
Tempera on wood with gilding
H. 12 9/16 in., W. 10 3/4 in.

In this icon from the era of Empress Elizabeth I (reigned 1741-1761), the painter's efforts to render tear ducts, eyelashes, and fluttering draperies create a more lifelike image of the Mother of God and Christ Child. The presence of a signature and date on the lower border reflects a new interest in icon painters' individuality. Artists were required by a royal decree enacted in 1710 to sign and date their paintings, thus ending centuries of pious anonymity.

Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973

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