The Mother of God of Kazan

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reference number: RI_144

second half of the 19th century

tempera on wooden panel, gilt silk thread, seed-pearls, silver foil

36 x 31 cm

A traditionally painted icon of Our Lady of Kazan covered by a gilt threaded embroidered oklad decorated with seed-pearls, silver foil, and red and green cut stones. The Virgin is depicted bust-length with her head slightly inclined towards Christ Child standing frontally at her left.


The Mother of God of Kazan, a variant of the Greek Hodegetria (the Guide or the One who leads the Way in Greek), is one of the oldest and most venerated images in Orthodox Christianity. The icon of the Kazan Virgin is celebrated on July 8th and October 22nd, the icon made its apparition in 1579 in the city of Kazan – formerly the capital of the Tatars – shortly after the city had been conquered by Tsar Ivan IV “The Terrible”. For centuries the icon was considered a palladium of Russia, guarding over the country’s safety. Its power was considered Russia’s primary beneficiary during the Polish invasion of 1612, the Swedish invasion of 1709 and Napoleon’s 1812 invasion. Icons of the Kazan Virgin are most revered and widespread in Russia.

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