St. John the Forerunner rendered as the Angel of the Desert. John is depicted with wings as he is a Messenger; he is holding a scroll and a basin with the newborn Savior in his left hand. To the left an event from his childhood, to the right St. John in the desert. On the upper border appearing Godfather in blessing. Signed and dated lower in the middle 'Vassili Gurianov 1893'. The border emulating contemporary enamelwork.
This finely painted, exquisitely decorated and sumptuously gilded image is amongst the best work of an outstanding icon painter of the late 19th to early 20th century. A native of the ancient icon-painting village of Mstera, Gurianov moved to Moscow, where he founded his own workshop which was widely known, including in court circles. The artistic merits of this icon and certain peculiarities of the portrayal are evidence that it was commissioned by a high-ranking person