Last update:
March 15th
2001

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Name Red Cross Egg with Triptych

Date 1915

Provenance Presented by Nicholas II to Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna

Made in St. Petersburg

Work-masters Henrik Wigström - Icon attributed to Adrian Prachov (act. 1906-15)
miniature portraits attributed to Vasilii Zuiev

Marks Fabergé, HW, 1915, assay mark of St. Petersburg 1908-17

Media gold, silver, glass

Size 8,6 cm tall

Techniques enamel, watercolor

Kept in Cleveland Museum of Art (The India Early Minshall Collection)
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eggWhen India Early Minshall purchased this egg in 1944, she had already written "The Story of My Russian Cabinet", noting, "Fabergé was called the Cellini of the North, but I do not think any jeweler can ever be compared to him." Wartime economy prevailed in the making of this austere jewel in 1915. Its severe red crosses are embellished with portraits of Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana. Like their mother, Czarina Alexandra (for whom the egg was made), the two girls were active in the Red Cross during the First World War.

The two miniature portraits of the two Grand Duchesses are probably by the court painter Vasilii Zuiev, who painted the miniatures for the companion Red Cross Portraits Egg. This is one of the few Tsar Imperial Easter Eggs that opens vertically. The 1913 Winter Egg is another.

inInside the egg, the central scene is the Harrowing of Hell, the Orthodox representation of the Resurrection, i.e. thr Christ awakening the dead after the Resurrection. Saint Olga, the founder of Christianity in Russia is represented on the left wing of the triptych. The martyr Saint Tatiana is on the right. The interior miniatures are executed by Adrian Prachow, who specialized in icons. The remaining two panels of the doors are inscribed with the crown monogram of the tsarina, and the other one with the year "1915". Czar Nicholas, engaged in the war effort at the front, was unable to present the egg personally to the czarina.

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