Orthodox Icons (Православные иконы). This is an extraordinary set painted in Russia in 1992, when the doors and windows of glasnost and perestroika began to open. Beautiful icons are masterfully painted by hand, including all details and enhancements. The lathe work is also fine and the lacquering and finishing as well. 20 nest, 13¾" down less than 1". Note: the top of the first doll has several deep crazing lines which don't impact the painting or the overall quality. The very last picture shows this flaw.
The head doll is a painting of the icon of the Holy Trinity (Троица) made famous by Russia's most celebrated iconographer, Andrei Rublev (1360-1428). It depicts three winged angels who appear to Old Testament Abraham. They are seated and gesture towards the chalice in the center of the table. Abraham's house, the ancient oak of Mamre and the mountainside are in the background. The second piece is The Annunciation with Christ Incarnate based on a 12th century icon. This is followed by the Hodigitria: Christ as a child sitting on the lap of his Mother, both of whom are bestowing blessings. Next, the Nativity of the Lord shows the Theotokos lying beside the Babe in the Manger in the cave. The ox and the donkey represent the Jews and the Gentiles. Next, The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, which depicts the Virgin Mary forty days after Jesus's birth. The prophetess Anna stands by watching, while the old Simeon receives the Babe in his arms. The next piece depicts Theophany, or The Baptism of Jesus Christ. St. John the Forerunner officiates, while three angels stand on the right bank, hands covered by their robes in the ancient Byzantine mark of special respect. This is followed by The Transfiguration, whereupon Christ took Peter, James, and John up Mount Tabor and was transfigured in the presence of Elijah, representing the Prophecy, and Moses, representing the Law. The Raising of Lazarus, together with figures that include the Judeans and Lazarus' sisters. Then, Christ's Entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, the date known as Palm Sunday. All these pieces are followed by, in quick succession, St. John the Baptist, The Crucifixion, and the Entombment of Christ's body, wrapped in a shroud, over which The Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and St John the Apostle lean. The figure with her arms raised is Mary, the wife of Cleophas. And as the pieces become smaller and smaller, the artist has painted The Descent into Hell (Anastasis), The Angel Guarding The Tomb, and Christ in Majesty. The next to the last pieces depict the Evangelists: St. John, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. Matthew. Finally, a tiny Seraphim.
The tops of each piece are painted with winged Seraphim and Cherubim, while the backs are all painted with elaborate bejeweled crosses. The first is the most elaborate: a Schema Calvary Cross with the Instruments of the Passion, the Church Slavonic inscriptions: King of Glory and Jesus Christ, NIKA (i.e., "Christ Conquers"), four Slavonic letters with abbreviation marks: "М.Л.Р.Б.", meaning: "The place of the skull, where Adam was" ("Место лобное рай бысть"), the letters: "Г Г" standing for 'Mount Golgotha' (in Slavonic: Гора Голгофы) and the step representing the mountain itself.
Each back of each piece is painted with a primary color: black, green, red, yellow, and then the crosses are added by hand. When gazing upon all of the backs of the dolls at once,, the effect is striking, and can transport the viewer back to early times.