Royal Doors (Icons)
Russian, Artist unknown
By Jeanne Harris, Docent. 2000
Unknown. The artist was expected to paint skillfully and to live an exemplory personal
life. Both his soul and his work had to be pure,because the icons he painted were
eventually worshipped and prayed to.
When painting an icon the artist follows three steps:
- The wood panel is prepared with gesso.
- Gold leaf is applied in the background areas.
- Lastly the religious figure is painted on.
The annunication appears at the top of the doors, below the four Evangelists are writing
the Gospels. Church fathers,bishops, and decons decorate the door jams.
During the liturgy bread and wine, symbolizing Christ the King, were carried through these
These icons were given to the museum by Karl Bickel, a friend of John Ringling. Bickel was
with United Press International for 22 years. He found these icons being sold for fire
wood at 10cents a bundle. He bought as many as he could and passed them through the
Russian and American customs as used household furniture.