The Dormition of the Virgin

Type: Icon

Period: The beginning of the 19 century

Author: Toma Vishanov-Molera

Toma Vishanov-Molera, born around 1750, painter of icons and murals, founder of the Bansko school of art. He grew up in the family of the clergyman Vishan. Around 1765 he went to Vienna, where he studied painting. It is not known who were his teachers there or when he returned to Bansko. His fellow villagers called him the Moler, Molera(from German Maler ‘painter’), whence the entire family's surname. Under the influence of the European 18th century art Toma Vishanov painted his works in a new manner, unknown until then in Orthodox art. The figures are realistic, vivid, expressive. Toma Vishanov is an innovator in the early period of Bulgarian Renaissance. His ideas on art were not understood and at first were rejected by his contemporaries. His work has not been studied extensively. He died after 1811 in Bansko.

School: Bansko Iconographic School

Dimmensions (cm): 27 / 63 / 2


Country: Bulgaria

Province: Blagoevgrad

Town: Bansko

Museum: Museum complex


Country: Bulgaria

Province: Blagoevgrad

Town: Razlog

Church: St. Great Martyr George


The icon's pictorial surface is divided into three compositional fields, each one of them framed by a narrow golden frame. Painted in the central field is the scene of the Dormition of the Mother of God, and in the two side ones - Sts. Archangel Michael (on the left) and Gabriel (on the right) in full length, kneeling on clouds and supporting the golden frame of the central composition. Portrayed in the latter are some of the holy apostles, headed by St. Peter (near the head of the lying on the death bed Holy Mother of God), and St. Paul (near the legs of the mother of God). Present are also two Hierarchs of the Church, most probably James, the brother of the Lord (the younger one) and Hierotheus (the older one). Portrayed in the center, above the group of the apostles and in full length, is Christ in radiance, holding in his left hand a little figure in swaddling clothes, symbolizing the soul of the Holy Mother of God. Painted to their waists, on his left- and right-hand side, are two angels.

Iconographical technique: Tempera

The layer of the painting is a thin one, of a smooth texture, made with the classical iconographic technique. The icon's varnish cover is applied relatively thickly and evenly. The gilding is made on bole with gold-leaf, subsequently polished.

Base material: Wood

The icon's base is a one-piece softwood panel with two vertically inserted beams. The panel's reverse side is insulated and painted. The ground coat is of plaster, laid directly on the panel and well-smoothed.

State, restoration traces and comments

Traces of previous restorative interventions have been found in the area of the decorative frame, on the gilding, on the clouds and on the faces of the figures. The repairs are applied roughly, with a thick layer of paint and an oil vehicle. Applied additionally has been a varnish cover in a very thick layer. It has prown dark and has been spoiled in the course of time.