The mandorla signifies a stream of light, radiation and the emanation of the divine power. A spiritual space clothing the divinity in canonic art, it expresses the concentration of the luciferous spiritual essence. The semantics and energetic power of the mandorla led Bogomolov to depict it in the form of a rhombus, which has its own tradition in the history of Old Russian art.
The dynamic nature, plastic aspiration and rhythmic elegance of the diamond-shaped mandorla combine with the geometric definition of the second ground, underlined by the pattern of the “boards” in the background and the ornamentation covering the entire canvas. The composition is based on the principle of the conjunction of direct opposites, developing on the contrast of the bright, sharp-angled form and the calm, painterly, balanced background.
This contrast evokes the effect of reverse perception. The symbolical rhombus can be read as the link between the leaves of the “curtain” or as a soaring, powerful, independent, freely manifesting form on a contrasting, iconnic background.
Professor Tatyana Shekhter
Head of the Department of Art History, St Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Head of the Special Programmes Sector, Hermitage Museum