Wonderful antique Russian hand carved 21" cabinet style icon frame with inscribed chromolith or lithograph, original silver foil cover with hand chased accenting and fabulous decorative appeal. We've sent some of these images out to our Russian speaking clients to see if we can find out more about it and will add to the listing if or when we do. The frame itself is wonderful, entirely hand carved and impressive both in size and detail. The text on the chromolithograph appears to identify the male as Constantine and the female would then likely be Empress Helena, his mother. Helena, or Saint Helena. c.250-330, was an Empress of the Roman Empire and mother of Emperor Constantine the Great. Born the lowest of commoners, she became the consort of the future Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus (reigned 293-306) and the mother of the future Emperor Constantine the Great (reigned 306-337). She ranks as an important figure in the history of Christianity and of the world due to her influence on her son. In her final years, she made a religious tour of Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem, during which she allegedly discovered the True Cross. Some also associate her with the foundation of the Vatican Gardens. Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Although he lived most of his life as a pagan, he joined the Christian faith on his death bed, being baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325 that produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem and became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church. He has historically been referred to as the "First Christian Emperor," and he did heavily promote the Christian Church. There is a hand written inscription on the paper back of the frame, dated 1919 though we're not sure if that's when the piece was actually created. There is also text on the back of the chromalith and we have enlarged pictures of it (front and back). A fabulous decorative piece, perfect for the collectors so don't miss it.
Very good condition, age and materials considered. We did remove the chromalith for scanning and it all appears fine other than some age darkened marks. The hand chased silver covering is entirely intact and free of damage, we're not sure if it's actually .800 or sterling silver but would guess it's not and have priced it as if not. The frame does have a few chips, base corners and it looks like there would have been a top center cornice or finial. The original paper backing is almost entirely intact but aged and you can see the cut around the chromalith where we removed it. See pictures for all measurements.
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