St. Joachim and St. Anne

Central Russia
1725-1750 c.
Room 2
Tempera on wood
13,7x11,1 cm
1890 n. 9328

This icon depicts Saints Joachim and Anne, the elderly parents of the Virgin Mary, identified here by the inscriptions above. Joachim holds a rolled scroll, while Anne holds an eight-armed cross, the most commonly used cross type in the Orthodox Church, and her hair is hidden by a veil, a feature typical of married Jewish women.

Icons depicting saints Anne and Joachim alone are quite rare, while it is more common to find them in a series of scenes dedicated to Mary's birth. Its small size indicates the icon's private purpose, perhaps used for domestic prayer by an older couple awaiting children.

Stylistically, the work is characterised by a highly simplified pictorial method analogous to a group of icons in the Uffizi collection executed in a provincial workshop in central Russia in the second quarter of the 18th century ('Christ Almighty Enthroned', inv. 1890 no. 9302; ‘The Virgin of Vladimir’ (inv. 1890 no. 9320; ‘The Archangel Michael’, inv. 1890 no. 9330; ‘The Annunciation’, inv. 1890 no. 9304/ inv. 1890 no. 9334; the ‘Nativity of Christ’, inv. 1890 no. 9305).

Daniela Parenti