the saints standing, on an ochre-coloured ground, the Mandylion depicted In the upper section, Saint Filaret the Merciful painted with a long grey beard and wearing a costly fur lined mantle over a green tunic, holding a gold orthodox cross and a moneybag symbolising his generosity to the poor, Saint Ermogen depicted as a young beardless man and dressed in a bright red tunic and a blue mantle, holding a gold orthodox martyr cross, signed and dated on the lower left border Vasilii Guryanov 1900 (pisal' Vasilii Gur'yanov' 1900 god v' Moskv.)
On the back of the panel are the remains of a Mosgostorg label for the state company that sold icons to the West in the 1930s. An inventory label, probably from the Uspenski Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, is inscribed in Cyrillic: 1340/sob. 656/usp.s.
The two saints are the name saints of Ermogen, the 2nd patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (c.1606-1612), and his successor, Filaret, the 3rd patriarch (c.1619-1633) ) and father of the first Romanov Tsar, Michael I. The remains of both patriarchs rest in the Uspenski Sobor in Moscow. Patriarch Ermogen was canonized during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II in 1913 as part of the Romanov tercentenary celebrations; the Emperor and Empress were strong supporters of the canonisation of new Russian saints.
Vasili Guryanov (c.1866-c.1920) was one of the most important Russian icon painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was born in Mstera and founded a workshop for icon painting and restoration in Moscow in 1892 or 1893. Appointed official court icon painter, Guryanov painted several icons especially for the Imperial family.
In 1896, Guryanov was also appointed by the church authorities to work on the restoration of several ancient icons in the Uspenki Sobor in the Moscow Kremlin. In 1904, Guryanov was asked to restore one of the most holy icons of Imperial Russia, the Trinity icon by the hand of Andrei Rublev.
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