0255 Virgin of Smolensk
19th cent.30x25x3 cms.
Tradition has it that the image was blessed by The Virgin herself after it was commissioned by Theophillus, The Governor of Antoch. The original passed into The Royal House of Byzantium before being given to Vladimir who installed it in the Cathedral of Smolensk in 1101.
The Virgin of Smolensk is the sternest of the Hodegetria class of Virgins. She stares sternly at the viewer whilst Her right hand points rigidly to Christ for salvation. Her solemnity reflects the importance, magnitude and pain of the mission ahead.
This particular icon is a “vrezok”, a term given to icons inserted into new boards to preserve the sanctity of the original. It was a practice much favoured by members f the Old Believer community. The icon dates from the 18th cent. but there has been restoration of the paint of the garments of the figures.
The icon was purchased on the European art market.