Collection Online

Royal doors
(late 16th century)

tempera and gesso on wood
(a-b) 158.6 × 69.2 × 6.5 cm (overall)
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through the NGV Foundation by Neilma Gantner, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2003
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts
Level 1, NGV International

Collection (personal) of Ilas Neufert, German (dealer-collector), from c. 1970, Germany included in Sotheby’s sale, June 1995 private sale to Temple Gallery (dealer), London from which purchased by an anonymous private collector by whom presented to the NGV through the NGV Foundation, 2003.

In an Orthodox church the Royal Door or ‘Beautiful Gate’ is the central gateway of the icon screen that shields the sanctuary from view. It is a symbolic reminder of the gates of Jerusalem through which Christ entered, and is only used by the emperor and senior clergy who carry the Eucharist through to the faithful. These panels are typical of the icon painting tradition of northern Russia in the late sixteenth century. An Annunciation scene (as seen here), is an invariable feature of Royal Doors. The figures in bishop regalia are the fourth-century theologians Basil the Great and John Chrysostom, authors of the Holy Liturgy.