Icon: Mother of God

Icon: Mother of God
(click image to zoom-in)
Painting, Tempera on panel and gilding, 87.5x33 cm
Origin: Russia, 16th century

This icon of the Virgin formed part of the Deesis row and was placed to the right of the central image, which showed Christ as the judge of the LJ. The Deesis Row is the main part of the iconostasis , expressing the idea of intercession by the saints for mankind before Christ the judge . Since Christ would have been shown enthroned, the Virgin is depicted full length; in the pose of prayer with head bowed, she turns to Christ, as to God and her son, in supplication for the whole of humankind.

The 16th-century Novgorod artist who created this image followed the traditional type. The Virgin is wearing a long robe of reddish-brown, decorated with gold stars, symbols of her virgin purity. Her face is dark-skinned and oval, in accordance with ancient descriptions, while her eyes express sorrow and suffering.

The Deesis Row consisted of seven icons: Christ Enthroned, The Virgin, John the Baptist, Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel, St Peter and St Paul. It was created by a Novgorod master in the 16th century for the wooden Church of the Assumption, built in 1599 . All these icons are now in the Hermitage, while the church itself has been moved to the Novgorod Museum of Wooden Architecture, Vitoslavitsa.

Personage: The Mother of God
Source of entry: State Hermitage Expedition, 1960
School: Novgorod
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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