While slumming around Portland with awesome folks on Sunday after Stumptown we hit Powells, like you do. Resting tired feet in the Pearl room, I found that we were in a section of utter awesomeness, being lots of art history. I am a magpie, easily attracted to certain book spines and while poking through little plate books of Persian miniatures I found a book of Russian icons from the 12th to 15th centuries. I have a fondness for icons, the combination of bold imagery with complex symbolism is fascinating. However, I’m not that up on all the meanings, so some plates, like this one:
make me think of Aarne-Thompson type 312 (Bluebeard). Like, people look in this hole they weren’t supposed to and BAM, head off. Really though, it’s St. John the Baptist and what we’re seeing here is sequential story telling. The head in the hole is his. Snap.
What decided me buying the book was that there is a plate of the best horse drawn ever in it.
Look at this horse. Is it not the best ever? Holy crap you have never seen a better horse.
Anyhow, turns out this wizard is Elijah (still a wizard, frankly), and Jesus is not stealing a baby, that’s his mom’s soul and she’s being escorted in style to heaven. The plate listing was an uncut page so I didn’t even see it till way after I had it home.
Icons, guys. The raddest.