Icon of St. John the Forerunner 'The Angel of the Desert' (16th cent.)

Icon of St. John the Forerunner 'The Angel of  the Desert' (16th cent.)
/upload/iblock/63e/18d6994dc0f62cd13962515cec1dbcc0.jpg Icon of St. John the Forerunner 'The Angel of the Desert' (16th cent.)
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St. John the Baptist


 
Direct print on linden panel.

An icon from the iconostasis of the Trinity church of Makhrishchi monastery of Vladimir Region. At present, the icon is kept in A. Rublev's Museum of Ancient Russian Arts.
In Byzantium, this iconographic type appears in 13th cent., while in Russia, in late 14th cent. It became especially popular under Tsar Ivan the Terrible who was named in honor of the his Saint. The icon was painted in the Moscow Kremlin workshop, which worked on orders from the Tsar's court.
The image of St. John the Forerunner with wings, as the Angel of the desert, reflects the Biblical words about the Angel sent to prepare the earthly path for the Saviour. John the Forerunner is usually depicted in the icons wearing the haircloth, i.e. camel skin, and keeping a chalice with his axed head, the symbol of martyrdom, or with Baby Christ, the Holy Lamb, Whose sacrifice he prophesied.


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