The icons entitled “And He Rested on the Seventh Day” show the seventh day of the Creation belonging to the type known as a hymnographic iconographic version. While the theme is conceptualized multidimensionally, its general concept is understood as the Fall of Man and redemption and the Divine protectorship of humankind.
The multi-tier composition is based on comparison of the Old Testament tales and the New Testament stories, located in the upper and lower parts of the icon. In the upper part, in the center, is the Lord wearing a mandorla shown resting from all his work he had done. To the left is the crucified Jesus Christ covered with cherub wings; the crucifixion is painted so that Christ along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit constitute the Holy Trinity. To the right God the Father sends Christ to the Earth urging Him to commit the exploit of redemption. In the lower part of the icon are scenes showing the history of first people: the creation of Eve (the source of sin), the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the killing of Cain by Abel (the fruit of sin), the lamenting of Abel by Adam and Eve. In the upper part of the icon, at the same level as the expulsion from the Garden of Eden scene, is the sending of Christ to the Earth, with a stone in Cain’s hands correspondштп to the holy bread in the hands of Christ, represented as Angel of Great Council (Christ iconography before his embodiment). The murder of Abel is shown at the same level with the Crucifixion of Christ, shown in the left “glory”; before Abel stands the Lamb, a symbol of both Abel and Christ. Thus, the icon displays human sins and their redemption by Christ as commanded by His Father.
The icon contains a quotation from the Bible “And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2: 3). The first such image can be seen on the “four-part” icon from the Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin (after 1547), containing all the compositional elements.
Zhanna G. Belik,
Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.
Olga E. Savchenko,
research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.
1. Инок Григорий (Круг). Мысли об иконе. М., 1997.
2. Буслаев Ф.И. О русской иконе. Общие понятия о русской иконописи. М.: Благовест, 1997. Репринт: Сочинения Ф. И. Буслаева. Т. 1. Сочинения по археологии и истории искусства. СПб., 1908.
3. Святые образы: Русские иконы XV – начала XX веков из частных собраний / Авт.-сост. И.В. Тарноградский. Авт. текстов И.Л. Бусева-Давыдова. М., 2006.
4. Костромская икона XIII – XIX веков: Свод русской иконописи. М., 2004.
5. Тарасов О.Ю. Икона и благочестие: Очерки иконного дела в императорской России. М., 1995.