Russian icon | Vladimirskaya Mother of God

Icon: Vladimirskaya Mother of God K-10

Russia, Moscow, mid-17th century
Tempera on panel, 32 x 27 cm

Private Collection, Germany
Morsink Icon Gallery, Amsterdam
ALR Ref. No: S00202742

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The Mother of God Vladimirskaya is one of the most famous icon types in Russia. In the icon, the Virgin carries the Christ Child on her right arm. With her left hand she gestures towards her Son. The Christ Child presses his cheek against his mother’s and is looking up at her. Mary does not respond to his gaze but looks past Him. The icon emphasizes the human aspect of Christ and the focal point is the intimate tie with his mother, against whom He is nestling. The refined style of painting is typical for Moscow icons from the mid-17th century.

In the 1130s the prototype of the Vladimirskaya-icon was brought to Russia and installed in Vyshgorod near Kiev, but in 1155 Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky transferred it to Vladimir on the Kliazma and installed it in the Cathedral of the Dormition, where it was consecrated, acquired special renown, and given the additional name of Vladimirskaya. The icon became the foremost object of veneration in the Vladimir-Suzdal region and later throughout Muscovite Russia.