Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Virgin Eleousa - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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XX006. Virgin Eleousa (Tenderness)

Circa 1500
31.5 x 23.7 cm (excluding frame)Click here to convert metric size to imperial

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The Virgin is shown in half-length holding the Christ-child in her arms. She is dressed in a red maphorion (decorated with intricate gold patterns) with a black chiton. She gazes solemnly at the viewer. Beneath the maphorion we can see a translucent peplos. Christ is wearing a red himation over a gold chiton. He is reaching out towards his mother with his arms around her neck. The iconography is known as Eleousa as it characterises the tenderness between the Mother of God and Christ.

The style of the current example indicates that it was painted around 1500 by a Cretan artist. The style and technique indicates that it is part of a tradition of 15th century Cretan icons, as we can see by comparing the face of the Virgin in our object with the face of the Virgin in a 15th century version of the Madre della Consolazione in the British Museum in London (fig. a). Here we can identify similar techniques for rendering the flesh and light of the face, as well as the calm, solemn expression.

Fig. a. (detail) XX006 (detail)

Fig. a. Madre della Consolazione, Cretan, 15th century, The British Museum, London, UK