Moscow School (?)
Egg tempera on gesso, linen, wood
56 x 44.5 cm
In a Russian church the altar is divided from the main body of the building by a multi-tiered iconostasis. This icon came from the festivals tier, which included icons showing Church feasts. It combines several episodes from the Nativity as related in the Gospels. At the centre lies the Virgin on a couch, with Jesus in a crib; around them are angels, the Magi on galloping horses, the shepherds who came to adore the Child, Joseph and an elder. The rays of the Star of Bethlehem stream towards the Christ Child.
Here a traditional composition is combined with original colouring - bright cinnabar and golden ochre against a pale-blue background.