The Mother of God Vladimirskaya belongs to one of the most widespread iconographic depictions of the Theotokos. The icon is painted in the traditional style in ochre colours with gold highlights. The Virgin is represented half-length, holding the Christ Child in her arms and slightly turning towards Him. The icon is overlaid with lavish silver-gilt oklad finely chased and repoussé with foliate design, adorned with a large chased halo and a pendant “tsata” neck-piece set with semi-precious stones.
The Vladimir Mother of God is one of the most venerated images of the Virgin. The iconographic type, also known as Umilyenie in Russian, and Glykophilousa (She who embraces gently) or Eleousa (She who shows mercy) in Greek, is ultimately derived from the Mother of God Hodegetria. The original icon was brought from Constantinople in 1131 and taken to the city of Vladimir on the river Klyazma in 1155, hence its name. In 1395 the icon was moved to Moscow to protect the city from Tamerlane (the final battle against the Russian troops). The icon was then installed in the Uspensky Cathedral (The Dormition of the Virgin Cathedral) in the Moscow Kremlin where it stayed for centuries later to be moved to the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. A great number of replicas of the icon were subsequently produced all over Russia, occasionally with slight variations in their traditional iconography.