Icon: Intercession of the Virgin

Icon: Intercession of the Virgin
(click image to zoom-in)
Painting, Tempera on panel and gilding, 74x51 cm
Origin: Russia, 15th century

The festival of the Intercession, one of the most popular Christian celebrations in all of Russia, was instituted in the 13th century in Vladimir by Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky. It's purpose was to honour an 8th-century miracle of the Virgin's veil . During an all-night service in the Church of the Blachernae in Constantinople , the Blessed Andrew the Fool, accompanied by his pupil Epiphanius, had a vision of the Virgin accompanied by the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church. Her veil remained visible, shining in the air over the heads of the people, for some time after the Virgin herself had disappeared. Every Friday night in the Church of the Blachernae a special ritual was held in which the veil was lifted over the image of the Virgin.

Icons of course came to reflect this festival and the 15th-century Pskov master who painted this work observed the established traditions in that he showed the Virgin in the Orans pose standing on a cloud above the Holy Doors in a church. Angels support the veil over her head and above Mary is a half-length depiction of Christ blessing. To the sides are groups of saints, and at bottom right are Andrey and Epiphanius.

Personage: The Mother of God
Source of entry: Pskov Museum Reserve, 1956
School: Pskov
Theme: The Bible and Christianity
Exibition: Russian Culture: 10th - 15th centuries

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