I've had a lovely day, two of my favourite people had a splendid wedding, very good and simple but you could feel their love. These are good people, I met their families for the first time, they were too were good and kind and loving. It is wonderful how goodness flows in families. Keep them in your prayers.
I 'acquired' some new members of the household too, this rather splendid icon of S George. It is quite big, two foot high, it is obviously a 'Church' icon rather than a domestic one, possibly from the upper register of an iconastasis. It was probably sent to the west in the thirties from some despoiled church to buy grain It would have been stripped of its precious metal oklad and the halo, there are nails and minute traces of gilding, the beige areas would have been gilded but the gilding would have been damaged during this stripping, and it was fashionable in the west during that period to have icons which revealed the gesso ground. The little patch on the side is typical of better icons restored in the soviet workshops, it shows the un-restored state. It was offered for sale as 19/20th century but the craquelure and the discolouration of the un-restored portion as well as the limited palette of earth colours and viridian would indicate an earlier date, perhaps a century or more earlier.
I love the composition: the harmony of the rocks with the figure of S George, the sinuous form of the dragon, which could be inspired by an oriental vase, contrasts with the city; the balancing of shapes, the hand of God blessing from the quadrant of Heaven over S George, the darker portion of the world under the princesses feet and the city walls enclosing even the cathedral dome, all except the upper portion of the cross. What is so beautiful is the ethereal sketchy fluidity of the mounted saint and dragon contrasted with the heaviness of the painting of the city.
I am sure the painter wanted the viewer to compare and contrast the dynamic nature of the spiritual life and the heroic struggle against the dragon and the life of those enclosed in the niches and balconies of the coffin-like city fearing the dragon. It is visual theology: fear versus the freedom of the Sons of God.
(And all for less than a pilgrimage to Lourdes!)