On the second floor of the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, one of Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov’s great masterpieces hangs. You’ve probably seen it on the internet, as it’s one of the most famous representations of the Risen Lord’s appearance to St Mary Magdalene. From what I remember, like a lot of Russian paintings, it has fairly massive dimensions; as broad and tall as the door stop novels of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are long. Ivanov was nicknamed, perhaps rather unkindly, the master of one work because having completed his Noli me tangere painting, it took him twenty years to complete his next picture, his magnum opus, The Appearance of Christ Before the People. This vast canvas measuring five by seven metres can be found in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. But other than these two pictures, there’s not much else by him, an incomplete painting of the Cleansing of the Temple and a few more completed works. What we do have, however, is a vast number of sketches considered to be masterpieces in their own right, of which The Angel Gabriel Appearing to Zechariah is one.