Icon "Selected Saints"

Place of creation

This icon, the full name of which is SS. Mary Magdalene, Peter, Paul, Sergius of Radonezh and Alexander Nevsky, holds a certain historic significance: in 1908 it was given to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, cousin to Nicholas II, upon her marriage to Prince Wilhelm of Sweden. The saints in the icon share names with Maria Pavlovna’s family members, while Mary Magdalene, depicted with a chrism vessel, shares her own.


The marriage failed and after 1917 Maria Pavlovna lived a hard life in exile, earning her wage as a seamstress for Coco Chanel. Her dire circumstances led her to part with her nuptial icon, which ended up in a private collection abroad. Both the painting and the revetment made by the firm of Ivan Tarabrov are stylized with hints of ancient Russian shapes, but the figures are volumetric and the Grecoroman acanthus is used in the ornamentation.

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