The Saviour Depicted up to his Shoulders
(Russia; sixteenth century)
Russia; sixteenth century; 23 x 17.5 cm
Since early Christian times, images of the Saviour as well as saints have been placed in small medallions worn by devout Christians. The oldest preserved mosaics with this theme date from the fifth - sixth centuries and are to be found in Ravenna, in the centre of the vault of the oratory of the archbishop's chapel, or in the church San Vitale. Similar medallions can be seen in the monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, where medallions of the apostles and other saints depicted up to the chest are in the apsis of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Regardless of whether it is placed in a circle, rectangle, or square, it is called the Saviour shown up to his shoulders, in Church Slavonic Спас оплечный.
The icon is of a smaller size and depicts Christ up to the shoulders on a gold background. His clothing is clearly visible – a red chiton and a dark blue himation. His dark brown hair is curled on the left shoulder. The facial expression expresses concentration and peace. His look is full of love and tenderness. The Greek letters Ѡ Ѻ N in the cross are placed in the light golden nimbus. The monogram of Jesus Christ IC XC is on the sides of the nimbus. The Church Slavonic name of the icon Господъ Всєдєржитєлъ – Omni-ruler can be seen above the shoulders.