Artemis Gallery to Auction Important Museum-Exhibited Russian Icons & Religious Art, March 23 Important pieces from Robicsek Collection were displayed at Mint Museum in 2003-4 and N.C. Museum of History in 2013-14
Christ Emmanuel, Edessa (considered to be the first icon), and numerous saints, monks, archangels and other holy figures. The range of estimates is broad, allowing beginning and intermediate-level collectors to acquire icons with impeccable provenance at prices they can afford.
Sharing the auction spotlight is a selection of beautiful Spanish Colonial Mexican santos, also with provenance from the Robicsek collection. Teresa Dodge explained what santos represent: “Santos played an important role in bringing the Catholic Church to the New World with the Spanish colonists. These religious figures were hand-carved and often furnished with crowns, jewels, and other accessories. They were usually funded by religious devotees and used as visual representations of the major figures – Mary, Christ, and the saints – in teaching new, indigenous converts. Likewise, they served as a connection to the Old World for Spanish colonists far from home. Many of them were lovingly cared for over the years, with repairs and paint added as they aged. They played an active part for a long time in the religious life of their communities.”
A prime example of the New World religious art form is a 19th-century CE hand-carved and polychrome-painted figure of San Blas (St. Blaise). The Armenia-born saint devoted his life to medicine until his election to the episcopal diocese of Sebaste. He then withdrew to a cave on Mt. Argeus to cure sick people and animals who came to him. The 34.25-inch-high santo depicts San Blas in traditional fashion as a bishop with a silver-handled crosier, with two sheep at his feet. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000.
Another compelling artwork, a circa 18th-19th century CE hand-carved and polychrome painted santo of ‘La Purisima Concepcion’ or ‘La Inmaculada’ depicts the praying saint atop a globe and crescent moon, wearing a golden tin crown encircled by 12 blue, glass-centered stars. Highly symbolic in its detail, the Spanish Colonial santo from either Mexico or Guatemala is estimated at $6,000-$9,000.
Created specifically for religious processions, a circa-15th-century CE gilt copper cross exemplifies the elite and uncompromising level of artistry achieved by Italian metalsmiths of that period. Made in Tuscany during the High Renaissance, this remarkable work of art was executed in repousse fashion with images of the Virgin and Child on the niello roundels of each of the arms. With a long line of provenance that includes owners in France and the United States, and previous sale at Sotheby’s, the cross will open for bidding at $22,000. Its pre-sale estimate is $35,000-$45,000.
The March 23, 2017 auction also includes Spanish Colonial retablos, oil paintings and other sacred art, as well as Russian jewelry and other religious objects. Bidders may participate in the auction live online, by phone (please reserve phone line in advance) or by leaving an absentee bid that will be lodged confidentially and competitively on their behalf. All items are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic, as described in the auction catalog, and legal to acquire per federal guidelines. The sale begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. View the catalog and