- Museum number
- Object: The Mother of God Vladimirskaya
Icon; painted; the Mother of God is represented half-length, with Christ seated on her right arm tenderly embracing her neck with both his hands.
The icon is covered with a 17th-century silver-gilt revetment ('riza').
Inscription: in Greek on the three metal plates flanking the Virgin's nimbus: MP ΘV (Mother of God) and ΙC ΧC (Jesus Christ).
Egg tempera, gesso on wood, silver-gilt revetment.
- Production date
- 17thC(early) (?)
Height: 31.40 centimetres
Thickness: 2.30 centimetres
Width: 25.10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This iconographic type is known in Greek as the ‘Glykophilousa’ (The Sweetly-Kissing-One) or ‘Eleousa’ (Compassionate), or as ‘Umilenie’ in Russian. It is ultimately derived from the Mother of God Hodegetria – one of the most famous Byzantine images of the Virgin and Child and which by the 14th century was regularly displayed in the Blachernai palace in Constantinople. The Museum’s icon is a late copy of the Byzantine icon of the Virgin of Vladimir, protectress of Russia, which, according to the 12th-century Russian chronicle ‘Povest’ Vremennych Let’, was brought to Kiev from Constantinople in 1131 for Prince Mstislav. It was subsequently transferred to Vladimir in 1155 by Prince Andrej Bogolubskii. In 1395 the icon was for a time brought to Moscow to protect the city from the invasion of the Mongol emperor Tamerlane and in 1480 it was permanently transferred to the Dormition cathedral in Moscow, where it subsequently protected the city from Tatar invasions on a number of occasions; it is now in the Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow (Bruk and Iovleva 1995, no. 1). A great number of replicas of the Vladimirskaya icon were subsequently produced all over Russia, occasionally with slight variations in their traditional iconography (Bentchev 1991, 141-169).
The icon is covered with a 17th-century silver-gilt revetment (‘riza’). As suggested by the label on the reverse, the icon may have come from one of the few monasteries located in the region of Lake Onega, probably from the Korniliev monastery situated on an island at the northern end of the lake. It is probably not of local manufacture and some of its stylistic features point to an origin in central Russia. The Korniliev monastery was founded in the 15th century and was from the 18th century an important centre for Old Believers. It was closed down by the Bolsheviks in 1919.
See also cat. nos 35, 41 and 58 for icons with the same iconography.
Cormack 2007, frontispiece and 113, no. 3.
- Not on display
- Made from a single panel with inserts for two missing battens on the reverse; minor scattered areas of damage on the surface and dried drops of a dark varnish on the central part of the Virgin’s face; the revetment, which is embossed with floral scrolls, is heavily oxidized.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- On the reverse of the icon is a paper label with an inscription in ink: ‘Given to T.A. Kilby. Inland water transport Tug Gophir (?) on July 28 1919 by the monks of the Lake Onega monastery, North Russia, in gratitude for his help in rescuing them and their belongings from the Bolshevists who burned the monastery’.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: IC 3 (Icon Collection number)