Praise the Lord from the Heavens

Iconography:  Praise the Lord from the Heavens

Date: XVII century. The second half of the 17th c.

Iconographic school/art center:  Yaroslavl school

Origin: From the Church of St. Parasceva (Friday) on the Vspolie, Yaroslavl.

Material: Wood, levkas, tempera

Dimensions:  height 136 cm, width 104 cm

The composition illustrates the 148th Psalm of David. Its main theme is the world praising the Creator. In the upper part is the firmament – “the highest heavens” depicted as arc-wise stripes representing “shining stars” with sun and moon and “waters above the skies”. In the center above is the figure of the Savior Emmanuel, seated on the Cherub throne and blessing the world he created. In the corners are the symbols of the Evangelists. On the clouds are the figures of the attending Holy Virgin, John the Baptist and angels. Below the clouds are the Earth and its inhabitants. People (“all nations”, “kings and judges”, “old men and children”, “women”) represent two hierarchical row groups: to the left are righteous kings, monks, young and old men and infants, to the right judges, kings on the earth, women, old and young men. In the center are “mountains and all hills and all ocean depths” with trees and grass (“fruit trees”) amongst which are flittering birds and walking animals (“animals and all cattle”) – giraffes, lions, sheep, goats, cows, exotic elephants, a rhinoceros and a fantastic unicorn. In the bottom part of the icon are underground caves that don’t let the light in, with “dragons”, lizards, snakes, dragons with dog heads. By depicting the diversity and harmony of the worldly beauty, the iconographer sought to show in it the manifestation of the Divine conception, the embodiment of the unseen and highest beauty.

Inv. № 116. © Yaroslavl Art Museum


София Премудрость Божия / Каталог выставки русской иконописи XIII-XIX веков в ГТГ. М., Радуница 2000, № 63, стр. 188-189

  • General view