The Tikhvin Mother of God

The Tikhvin Mother of God

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reference number: RI_037

circa 1800

tempera on wooden panel in oklad decorated with beads, faceted stones, cut glass

34.9 x 30.2 cm

A traditionally painted icon encased in an unusual beaded oklad ornamented with large faceted stones as well as large beading along the kovcheg, the halos and the figures of the Virgin and the Christ Child. The icon is painted on a gold background. The border is with images of six family saints.


The Tikhvin Mother of God belongs to the iconographic type known as Hodegetria (the Guide or the One who leads the Way in Greek). The Virgin is depicted waist-length, holding the seated Christ Child on her left arm. The two figures are slightly turned to each other; Christ is shown extending his right hand in a blessing and holding an unfurled scroll with the left.


The Tikhvin Mother of God is celebrated on June 26th. The prototype of the icon it is attributed to the Evangelist Luke, the original was kept in the Church of Blachernae in Constantinople. One of the legends relates that the icon abandoned Constantinople of its own accord, appearing in 1383 above the waters of the Lake Ladoga (near St Petersburg), it was borne by the wind to the town of Tikhvin where a convent was built to receive it.

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