St. Basil with Scenes from His Life
16th century, Moscow School
Tempera on wood panel
108.3 x 82.6 cm (42 5/8 x 32 1/2 in.)

Saint Basil, a fourth-century archbishop and Doctor of the Church, established the basis of monastic life in the Eastern church. He was the leader of a sect of orthodox believers and was active in helping the needy. He built a hospice and a large complex to minister to the sick and attracted huge crowds with his preaching. 


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The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste and Four Men in the Fiery Furnace
15th century, Novgorod School
Tempera and gesso on linen
24.4 x 20 cm (9-5/8 x 7-7/8 in.)

The size of this tabletka, or double-sided icon, indicates that it probably sat on a cloth-draped lectern, or analoy. One side depicts the forty Roman soldiers who were martyred for their Christian beliefs in the fourth century by being forced to stand barefoot in a freezing lake. 


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The Royal Gates
15th century, Novgorod school
tempera on wood panel
left, 169.5 x 41.3 cm (66-3/4 x 16-1/4 in.)
right, 169.2 x 39.7 cm (66-5/8 x 15-5/8 in.)

The Royal Gates, or Czar's Doors, set in the center of the iconostas', were so-called because Christ, the King of Glory as represented by his priests, enters the Royal Gates that lead to the altar. A curtain hung on the inside is drawn or opened during various parts of the divine service.


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The Savior Enthroned
15th century, Novgorod School
Tempera on wood panel
90.8 x 65.4 cm (35-3/4 x 25-3/4 in.)

The Savior Enthroned occupies the center of the iconostasis. He holds a closed Gospel in one hand and raises the other in blessing. Selected saints occupy the upper corners.


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The Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ
16th century, Moscow School
Tempera on wood panel
42.9 x 35.2 cm (32-1/8 x 26-3/4 in.)

The Ascension of Christ took place on the Mount of Olives, and in this icon the figures are set against a hilly landscape studded with olive trees. The Virgin is flanked by the twelve Apostles.


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