AN IМPORTANT SТROGANOV ICON REPRESENТING THE ENТНRONED MOTHER OF GOD FLANКED ВУ INТERCEDING SAINТS Evthimia the Martyr, James the Aposde, Maxim the Confessor, and John the Warrior

maker's mark of I. Trechushnikov

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Early 17th century. Encased in a later repousse and chased silver-gilt oklad ornamented with interweaving foliate scrolls, stylised flowerheads and buds, Moscow 1853. * The saints represented are the patrons of members of the illustrious Stroganov family, Maxim, who died in 1600, his father James, daughter Evthimia, and either her son John or her brother also named John.
Wealthy merchants ofNovgorod extraction, the Stroganovs exploited the rich new territories colonised in North-East Russia in the district of Perm at Solvychegodsk and Ustiug. Ву 1558, the brothers Yakov, Grigori, and Semeon had founded salt mines and were trapping furs. In 1574 they financed the conquest of Siberia.
The Stroganovs were prodigious art patrons and church builders who commissioned metalwork and icon painting. During the 'Time of Troubes' (1st decade of the 17th century), when life in Moscow was dislocated by the Polish occupation, many court painters and craftsmen employed in the Кremlin workshops appear to have settled on the Stroganov estates at Solvichegodsk near Perm.
The term 'Stroganov School' was first used in Old Believer and icon collecting circles during the 19th century, when there came to light a number of delicately painted panels, which either through inscriptions оп the reverse or through the choice of patron saints could be connected with the Stroganov family.
For information onn the Stroganov geneology see The Russian Biographical Dictionary, Vol. Smelovskii/ Suvorina, St. Petersburg, 1906, page 512.
The background, halos and inscriptions have been repainted during the 19th century, the icon was unfortunately inset into a new рaпеl in 1956, when a small portion of the original рaпеl with a puzzling inscription was transferred to the new рaпеl.
The inscription states:
'Stelyan Bokov, inhabitant of Moscow, prays before this icon, luzkov Jhukhov repaired it'.
The reverse of the icon is covered with velvet inscribed in ink:
'Donnee par son pere a Gregoire Stroganoff le jour de son mariage le 28 Septembre 1856 A Moscow.' And lower down a further inscription in a different hand:
'Son arriere petite fille, Мaria Scherbatoff (Maria Vladimirovna) a ete benie par sa mere avec cette meme ikona, le jour de son mariage le 15 F evrier 1940 a Rome'.
lcons painted to the order of Maxim Уakolevich have bееn recorded, see for example the catalogue of the Tretyakov Gallery, No. 782, which is inscribed on the reverse 'Тhis image was painted to the order of Maxim Yakovlevich and his children lvan and Maxim painted nу his 'man' (Chelovek), Peruvsha, and Nos. 784, 788, 789,794,800, 802. See also the Catalogue of the Р. Коrin Collection, Nos. 65, 69 and 75. Among the artists known to have painted for Maxim, many of whom also worked in the Кremlin workshops of the Tzar and the Patriarch are: Istoma Gordeev, Vasilii Chirin, Stephan Pakhirya, Istoma and Nikiphor Savin, Pervusha, and lvan Sobol.
For a comparable icon of The Enthroned Virgin flanked by the patron saints of Maxim's first cousin, the Stroganov magnate Nikita Gregorievich and painted by Nikiphor Savin, see The Коrin Collection Catalogue, No. 90, plate 72.
See also Sotheby Parke Bernet, 11th June 1981 lot 546, which is the only other icon to be offered at auction which is likely to have been commissioned by a member of the Stroganov family (in this case Nikita Grigorievich)