Though the Ukrainian icon from the village of Dorosyni belongs to the same Eleusa type it has nevertheless a number of significant original features: the Child is painted in the right part of the composition (while in the Virgin of Vladimir, He is on the left) and corners of the icon present the Archangels Gabriel and Michael, as in Hodigitria type icons. The gestures of the hands of Mary and the Child differ as well, while the position of their legs is analogous. The artist also created an unusual image of the Mother of God. Her face has an air of artless innocence and bears an expression of defenselessness, deeply moving in the light of the sufferings in store for her and her Child. The decorative aspect of the icon is based on a restrained colour scheme with occasional bright yellow flash-like tones.
15. THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE
Late 15th - early 16th century
62 x 43. Egg tempera on lime wood.
From St. Demetrius' Church in the village of Zhohatyn (Poland).
Lviv National Museum.
The subject of the icon appeared on the basis of narration from St. Luke's Gospel. It tells how forty days after Christ's Nativity Joseph and Mary went to the Temple in Jerusalem to dedicate their child to God and to sacrifice two doves. They were met by 360-year-old Simeon who had been foretold that he would die only after seeing Jesus Christ, hence his being called Simeon the God-receiver. Along with the main personages, Anna the Prophet, the widow who devoted herself to God's service, is usually represented as a participant in this event.
The icon from St. Demetrius' Church presents all four main personages and the infant Jesus in the hands of Simeon. The background, which conventionally renders both the interior of the Temple (testified to by attributes such as ciboria) and the city of Jerusalem, makes up a great part of the composition. Its restrained pastel coloring is subordinated to the somewhat static poses of the personages and is meant to signify the period of heavenly grace around the small figure of the infant Christ; the semantic center of the work.
16. ST. GEORGE AND ST. PARASCEVE
Late 15th - early 16th century
102.5 x 67. Egg tempera on lime wood.
From the Church of SS Cosmas and Damian in the village of Korchyn Lviv region.
The icon shows St. George as a holy warrior. According to a long-standing tradition he is usually represented as a valiant hero. This icon shows St. George as a medieval knight with a standard and a shield, attributes rare in representations of this saint in the 15th-l6th centuries. In Byzantine art he was often depicted as a Roman soldier (see No. 1).
Great Martyr Parasceve is one of the most venerated Greek saints in the Ukraine. She was executed by theRoman Emperor Diocletian in the 3rd century. Her life, often illustrated in Ukrainian hagiographic icons, was recordedin the 9th century. The name Parasceve means Friday in Greek (according to a legend she was born precisely on
Friday) and in the Middle Ages it was associated with Good Friday and, consequently, with the Passion of Christ. The image of St. Parasceve organically entered Ukrainian folklore. She was considered the patron of love, marriage and fertility. Prayers to her were conducted in case of drought, animal plague and epidemics. In Kyivan Rus', St. Parasceve was also regarded to be the patron of trade, that is why churches built on market places were usually consecrated to St. Parasceve.
The icon from the village of Korchyn impresses with its elevated spirit. It is evident in the bellicose figure of St. George, whose frontal and static posture is at variance with dynamic motion of folds of his apparel and the standard. It is also evident in the bright decorativeness of the image of St. Parasceve raising high and in a solemn manner her cross of martyrdom. The lofty air of the scene is also underscored by the refined graphics of red letters of the text unusually large for an icon.
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