- Museum number
- Object: The Mother of God Tikhvinskaya
Icon; painted; the Mother of God, wearing a 'maphorion' and mantle with Bethlehem stars, is depicted as a half-length figure turned to the right against a white background. She supports the infant Christ in her left arm and raises her right in blessing. Christ holds a scroll in his left hand and raises his right in a gesture of benediction. His right foot is tucked under his left leg, the bare sole exposed.
Egg tempera on wood.
- Production date
Height: 89 centimetres
Thickness: 3 centimetres
Width: 67 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This type of the Mother of God derives from an early Byzantine icon originally kept in Jerusalem but transferred by the Empress Eudoxia in the 5th century to Constantinople where it was installed in the Blachernai monastery. According to a 16th-century Russian legend the icon miraculously disappeared from Constantinople in 1383 and manifested itself above Lake Lagoda in northern Russia where it appeared before some fishermen. It subsequently floated down the river Tikhvinka and came to rest at the village of Tikhvin to the north-east of Novogorod. A monastery was subsequently built there by Ivan the Terrible in 1560 next to the Cathedral of the Dormition where the icon was housed. The visit by Ivan led to an increased veneration of the icon and it became glorified in Russia by the name ‘Tikhvinskaya’. A number of copies of it are known in Russian art. The Museum’s icon belongs to the group of so-called ‘stylized’ icons which were produced in great numbers during the 19th and early 20th centuries in the icon-painting workshops of Mstera, both for Old Believers and icon collectors.
The crossed legs and bare sole of Christ’s left foot are characteristic features of this type and appear as early as the 13th century on some Sinai icons (Evans 2004, no. 40) and slightly later on a number of late 13th–14th century icons on Mount Athos (Karaktsanis 1997, nos 2.10 and 2.30).
See also cat. no. 63 for another icon with this iconography.
Cormack 2007, 115, no. 10
- Not on display
- Made of three convex panels joined on the back by two inserted battens; a vertical crack, with some losses of paint, runs down the left-hand side of the Virgin’s halo, ‘maphorion’ and upper shoulder. The background, which imitates older gesso, was never painted, but is covered with a darkened varnish.
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: IC 10 (Icon Collection number)