The

Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Virgin of the Unfading Rose - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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E020. Virgin of the Unfading Rose with Two Warrior Saints

Greek
18th century
Tempera on gesso and wood
Panel: 30 x 22.5 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

Provenance:  Private collection, Netherlands

Purchased in Istanbul in the 1970s

Condition:  Good condition; minor abrasions commensurate with age

£7,500 [Sold]Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

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The epithet ‘Unfading Rose’ comes from the 6th century Akathyst hymn to the Virgin attributed to Romanos the Melodist. An important example, dating from 1790 and regarded as the prototype, is in the monastery of the Transfiguration at Meteora (Megalo Meteoron) in Thessaly. The icon later became popular and widely venerated throughout Greece and especially on the island of Cyprus. Both the Virgin and Christ are shown in imperial regalia. The rose held by the Virgin is a reference to the refrain on the 7th Eikos of the Akathyst hymn wherein we name Mary the ‘flower of incorruption’, recognising the miraculous nature of Christ's virgin birth. It also refers to troparia in the First and Seventh Odes of the Canon of the Akathist hymn. In these troparia we praise the Mother of God, singing ‘Rejoice, O thou alone who hast blossomed forth the unfading Rose’ and ‘Rejoice, ... mystical staff that didst blossom with the unfading Flower’.

The two mounted warriors have no inscriptions to identify them. They appear to be Saint Menas and Saint Mercurios

Detail Images