The Mother of God of Vladimir

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reference number: RI_155

19th century

tempera on wooden panel

57.7 x 48 cm


A large finely painted icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir. The icon is executed in the style of the sixteen century. The Mother of God is depicted half-length, gently holding Christ Child, who tenderly embraces her neck with both his hands.


The Vladimir Mother of God is one of the most venerated and widespread 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.

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