- Museum number
- Object: The Mother of God of the Sign (‘Znamenie’)
Icon; painted; the half-length figure of the Mother of God is portrayed frontally with her hands raised in prayer. On her chest is a medallion containing a bust of Christ Emmanuel holding a scroll and blessing. He is depicted against a background of red and blue circles and stars, symbolizing the universe. The outer red colour is a reference to the resurrection.
Inscription: in Greek flanking Christ to left: IC; to right: XC (Jesus Christ); in Christ's halo: O W[H] (He Who Is).
Egg tempera, gesso on wood.
- Production date
Height: 30.90 centimetres
Thickness: 2.70 centimetres
Width: 26.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The iconography derives from a type of the Virgin called the ‘Great Panagia’ or the ‘Platytera’ where the Virgin is depicted with widespread arms and Christ in a medallion on her chest. Its iconography expresses the theological concept of the Incarnation of Christ. From the 11th–12th centuries this venerable type becomes known in Russian art as ‘Znamenie’ (The Sign). A bilateral icon of the Mother of God of the Sign became famous as the protector of Novgorod when it saved the city during a siege by Suzdal forces in 1170 (Salko 1982, figs 163–168). From that time onwards it was regarded as a miracle-working icon and became one of the most venerated and widely copied images of the Virgin.
See also cat. no. 54 for another icon with this iconography.
Cormack 2007, 129, no. 68
- Not on display
- Made from a single panel with ‘kovcheg’; two inserted battens on the reverse; the background of the icon has been totally restored and retouched to imitate an older icon. The flesh tones were over-painted in the 19th century. Beneath the 19th-century restoration are the remains of an earlier paint layer.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- See 1998,0605.1 Most of the items catalogued under 1998,0605 were acquired by Sir Frank Roberts’ wife, Cella.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: IC 69 (Icon Collection number)