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Veil with the Dormition of the Mother of God and the Reverends Anthony and Feodosy of Pechery

Veil with the Dormition of the Mother of God and the Reverends Anthony and Feodosy of Pechery

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This ecclesiastical embroidery was created for use in a Russian Orthodox church. The iconographic scheme of the Dormition of the Mother of God flanked by Reverends Anthony and Feodosy of Pechery is characteristic of liturgical objects connected to the Kievo-Pecherskaya Cathedral in Kiev and is based on a miraculous icon that was the central focus of worship at that cathedral. The use of Ukranian spellings in the inscriptions points to a place of origin in Ukraine or perhaps in the southwestern region of Russia on the border with Ukraine. The inscription on the scroll held by Feodosy on the right refers to the Pechersky Monastery in Kiev. An inscription written on the back of the veil, however, identified the place of origin as the Uspensky Svensky Monastery near Bryansk, Russia, which was under the jurisdiction of the Kievo-Pecherskaya Cathedral in Kiev, and was dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God. Based on the horizontal format, the size, and the number "3" written on the back of this embroidered icon, it has been suggested that it was a highly valued embroidery and that it most likely hung directly under the cathedral icon on the iconostasis of the most important church in the Svensky Monastery complex, the Uspensky Cathedral. Under Soviet rule and the accompanying persecution of religion, monasteries were closed and their liturgical furnishings were sold in Soviet commission shops. The Svensky Monastery was closed in 1926 and this embroidery bears the sale price of 25 rubles inscribed on the back. This embroidery formerly belonged to Emlen Knight Davies (Grosjean Evers), who accompanied her father, Joseph E. Davies, UW Class of 1898, Law School Class of 1901, to the Soviet Union during his ambassadorship in 1937-38, when this embroidery was acquired either by Davies himself or his daughter on one of their regular visits to the commission shops (from which he also acquired other works now in the Chazen Museum collection).
Unknown (Russian)
Veil with the Dormition of the Mother of God and the Reverends Anthony and Feodosy of Pechery
late 19th-early 20th century
Silk, satin, and gold and silver thread embroidery on silk on canvas
20 1/2 x 28 1/4 in. overall
Gift of Mia Grosjean from the Joseph E. Davies collection
Accession No.


Uspensky-Svensky Monastery (Suponevo, Bryansk Oblast, Russia); possibly in the 1920s, removed from Uspensky-Svensky Monastery (no later than 1926, when the monastery was shut down); 1937-1938, acquired in Russia by Ambassador Joseph E. Davies or Emlen Knight Davies (Grosjean Evers) [daughter of Ambassador Joseph E. Davies]; ca. 1980, gifted by Emlen Knight Davies (Grosjean Evers) to her daughter, Mia Grosjean (Washington, DC); 2019, gifted to the Chazen Museum of Art.

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