About the icon
The Baltic City of St Petersburg, constructed by Peter the Great to be his capital, is steeped in history. Just off the market square is a cobwebbed antique shop, not usually found by tourists, which sells icons, crucifixes and all sorts of religious paraphernalia. The curator of the famous Hermitage museum is an occasional visitor, hoping to chance upon a missed piece to grace its noble walls.
Visiting this amazing location, we were astonished to find this icon depicting St Mark. Tucked away between a waxwork of the Virgin Mary and a fake bottle of blood from The Cross, this little gem had obviously been missed by the curator.
Look carefully at the quality of the work. The artist is unknown but the handling of the face is especially noteworthy, showing a delicacy achieved only through a love of the subject. Moreover, the subject bears an uncanny resemblance to someone very familiar, albeit unbearded. Can you see who?
Because of its historical interest, the piece is not for sale (but if you want it enough we could possibly do a deal).