Temple Gallery

Established 1959

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

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YY034. Virgin of Tikhvin

Circa 1800
35.5 x 28.7 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

£2,400 [Sold]Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

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The iconography of the Mother of God of Tikhvin (that protected the city of that name) has a long history. According to the ancient Russian chronicles, the icon miraculously appeared in summer 1383 in the environs of Novgorod. The Story of the Icon of Tikhvin registers its four successive apparitions the last being on the left bank of the river Tikhvinka where a Dormition Church was built. Later, in 1560, the Tikhvin Monastery arose on the site. The long siege of the monastery by the Swedish army in 1613-1615 was a crucial moment in the history of the icon worship after its miraculous intercession for the besieged. The Temple Gallery once owned an icon depicting these events. It can be seen at

The iconography developed in Russia in the 15th century as a variant of the more formal ‘Smolensk’ Mother of God which, in its turn, derived from the Byzantine prototype known as ‘Hodegetria’. Legend tells us that the original ‘Hodegetria’ (Gr. ‘the guide’, i.e. the one who shows the way) was a portrait of the Mother of God painted during her lifetime by Saint Luke. The Virgin gazes either into the distance or at the viewer, holding the child Christ seated on her left arm while she gestures towards him with her right hand. The Tuesday procession of the ‘Hodegetria’ icon kept at the Hodegon monastery in Constantinople was a notable ceremony in the city recorded by medieval visitors and pilgrims.