Paraskeva and Anastasia, Detail
Detail from "SS Paraskeva and Anastasia"
This sixteenth-century icon from Novgorod reveals features typical of the region and the period. Darker masses of single colors such as cinnabar red and bluish-green support both linear highlights and dark markings indicative of folds. Though the heads of the well-known St. Paraskeva and St. Anastasia are boldly modeled, the absence of expression gives their faces a sense of austerity.
St. Paraskeva, wearing a red maphorion (cloak or wrap) holds a cross in her hand and Anastasia, draped in a brownish-violet maphorion, holds both a cross and a vessel. Both saints, whose iconographies are virtually interchangeable, are frequently depicted in the art of Novgorod, and icons of St. Paraskeva are found as early as the thirteenth century. The cults of both saints were also equally widespread in the provinces about Novgorod.
In icons of selected saints, Paraskeva and Anastasia are often shown together because of the similarity of their roles and the proximate dates of their festivals (St. Paraskeva's on October 28 and St. Anastasia's on October 29).
The icon of St. Paraskeva and St. Anastasia is one of the many treasures from the collection of the scholar N. Likhachev (1862-1936). Though his collection suffered when politically-motivated Soviet authorities distributed parts of it, about 1,000 of his carefully selected works remain in the Russian Museum.