- Museum number
- Object: The Eulogy to the Mother of God (‘Pokhvala Presvyatui Bogoroditsui’)
Icon; painted; in the centre of the icon, within a floral ornamental silver-gilt frame, is the Virgin Mary enthroned with, above, the half-length figure of Christ raising both hands in a gesture of benediction. On either side are the 12 prophets (six on each side) holding scrolls with excerpts from their scriptures. Below, in the centre, kneels the figure of the magician Balaam. The 'oklad' is decorated with embossed floral scrolls.
Inscriptions: in Church Slavonic on the top border: ПОХВАЛА ПРЕСВЯТЫЯ БОГОРОДИЦЫ (Eulogy to the Holy Mother of God); in Greek: beside Christ's halo: ΙC ΧC (Jesus Christ); inside the halo: O WN (He Who Is); in the halo of the Virgin: MP ΘV (Mother of God); all the prophets have their haloes inscribed in Church Slavonic: on the left: АВВАКУМ (Habbakuk), ГЕДЕОН (Gideon), ЗАХАРИЯ (Zachariah), МОИСЕЙ (Moses), СОЛОМОН (Solomon), ДАВИД (David); below the Virgin in the centre: ВАЛААМ (Balaam); on the right: ЗАХАРИЯ СЕРП[ОВИДЕЦ] (Zachariah of the Crescent), ИЛИЯ (Elijah), ДАНИИЛ (Daniel), ИЕЗЕКИЛЬ (Ezekiel), ИСАЙЯ (Isaiah), ИАКОВ (Jacob). On the prophets' scrolls are letters in Church Slavonic which have been taken from the scriptures. All these inscriptions are replicated on the 'oklad'.
Egg tempera, gold, gesso on wood, silver-gilt revetment .
- Production date
Height: 31.40 centimetres
Thickness: 2.50 centimetres
Width: 27.10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The iconography was first developed in Byzantium in the 14th century and derives from the Mariological hymns of Germanos I, Patriarch of Constantinople from 715–30, and Germanos II, Patriarch of Constantinople from 1222–40. In Byzantine art the composition was known as the ‘Tree of Jesse’ and was a metaphorical image of the genealogy of Christ based on Isaiah 11:1 and Matthew 1:1–17. The design of the Museum’s icon recalls the frescoes in the Dormition cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, dated to 1480 (Zonova 1971), and an icon from the St Cyril Belozerski monastery (dated 1550–60) (Vilinbahova and Pleshanova 1995, no. 32). The latter depicts the 12 prophets showing their prophecies on scrolls, which are dedicated to the miracle of Christ’s incarnation. Each prophet holds an attribute symbolizing the Virgin Mary: a rock (Habbakuk and Daniel), a burning bush (Moses), a temple (Solomon), the Ark of the Covenant (David), a crescent (Zachariah), closed gates (Ezekiel), flowers (Jacob), and the magician Balaam holds the star of Bethlehem. Symbolically the prophets glorify both the Mother of God as the Holy Throne and Christ Emmanuel above her.
See also cat. no. 28.
Cormack 2007, 123, no. 41
- Not on display
- Made from a single panel with ‘kovcheg’; two inserted battens on the reverse; the original was over-painted when the icon was restored and covered with the revetment.
- 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 41 (Icon Collection number)