The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man

Palekh School
This Item has been sold

reference number: RI_136

circa 1800

tempera on wooden panel

31.5 x 26.5 cm


A very rare finely painted icon illustrating the Biblical Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-21) –  a story of a rich man Dives who feasted and celebrated every day, while a poor leper named Lazarus sat starving nearby. The upper right part of the composition depicts a feast at the house of the rich man. The scene below shows Lazarus at the rich man’s door with dogs licking the sores on his body. To the right, Christ is preaching to His disciples. The lower right scene portrays Dives condemned to hell for his selfishness. In the top right corner, Lazarus is shown in the Bosom of Abraham, where he was brought after his death. On the borders are four selected saints: St Peter of Athos, St.Onouphrious, St Dimitry of Uglitch and St Stephen. The icon is covered by a finely chased and embossed gilt-metal basma.


The story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, along with the parables of the Ten Virgins, Prodigal Son, and Good Samaritan, was one of the most frequently illustrated in medieval art, probably because of its vivid account of an afterlife.

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