Russian version


The repousse icon of the Virgin, of the so called “Cyprian type”, belonging to the church in the village of Labechina (Georgia, Ambrolauri region) is one of the most interesting monuments of toreutics of feudal times in Georgia; it is at present on view at the permanent exhibition of valuables at the State Museum of Arts, Georgia.

The artistic value of this work is determined by the stylistic peculiarities of plastics in metalwork, by the precisely set artistic aims, as well as by highly professional execution.

The icon is done in silver. It has not come down to us in its original aspect, but the latter is still discernible.

The compositional and conceptual center of the icon is the frontally represented figure of the Virgin and child enthroned, against a plain neutral background. Both figures dominate the whole space, at once catching the viewer’s eye. Therefore, this part, accentuated by gilding, clearly expresses the artist’s principal conception, as well as the basic idea of the icon.

The ascetic, strictly frontal representation of the figure of the Virgin is in harmony with that of the Child, the Saviour, which is also frontally placed on the axis of summitry; its lower part, however, is shown in profile, which seems slightly dissonant with the strictly balanced compositional structure. The artist’s creative aspirations are reveled in the plastically modeled, refined and moderately expressed interrelations between the decorative elements of the figures. The plastically modeled figures of the Virgin and Child stand out against the background of the decoratively conceived of plastic details which in no way hinders the perception of the plasticity of the central figures.

The border of the icon, done in flat relief accentuates the central part. On both vertical borders there were representations of archangels, of which only fragments remain at present. On the upper horizontal border was “The Supplication”, while on the lower one, in spaces between representations of “Warrior Saints” runs a donator inscription in Georgian “asomtravruli” characters.

As it seen from the inscription, the icon of the Labechina Virgin was executed by a Georgian master and commissioned by the “Eristavteristavis” Jinjikha and Vardan.

The repousse icon of the Virgin from Labechina is a remarkable monument of the first half of the XI century, vividly expressive of the artistic tastes of the time.

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Text by B. Svanidze
Version for Web:Revaz Zhghenti

Georgia, Tbilisi
  April, 2003


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