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Author Topic: Mother of God Icon II
John_Curran
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Janet, you've refreshed my memory, that is indeed the same book I saw. It was on loan from Inter-Library Loan, and was indeed in two volumes. I think most of the patterns were 17th Century.

Thank you for the additional information, most interesting! And welcome to Iconofile.

John

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JanetJaime
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I have that same icon(perhaps) in a book of patterns that has the heads rather than the stars on the Mother of God. What book are you looking at? Mine is a Russian two volume set I ordered from a bookstore and it is now out of print. Its called "Russian Icon Designs" vol I and II.

The icon is called "The Mother of God, Stone Uncut by Human Hands" Along with the three faces which look like a woman with a mantle all identical, there is a face of what looks like Christ the King above her hand and then in yet another circle sort of rolling off that one is another crowned face in a circle that looks like a woman. The pose of the figures of Christ and the Mother of God is that of the Hodegetria. It is 17th cent.

Then there is yet another drawing called The Mother of God (Vsepetaya Mati) that has the faces and again they are like womens faces dating from the 18th cent. In this Christ is reaching up with his hands as if to hug her, is a bit older looking and she is crowned. Her head is inclined toward him.

If these are the books you have, you are fortunate because very few were printed. If it is another book, I am interested in it as I collect pattern books. MIne is by Gleb Markelov and published by Ivan Limbakh Publishing House.

There is another icon called "The Mother of God, The Stone Not Broken Off by Human Hand" from the early 17th cent. In it, the virgin is enthroned sitting under Christ in a mandorla at the top with the Holy Spirit below that touching her head. She is holding the Christ and a scroll. It is a rare subject closely connected to the prophecy of Daniel "A rock broke off from the mountain, but not by the hand of man......and it became a great mountain that filled all that region"

The rock that in Nebuchadnezzar's dream smashes to pieces the statue of the giant is Christ while the Virgin is symbolized by the sky that sends down the rock.

In the icon, the mountain appears on the breast of the Mother of God, along with symbols of the Old Testament prophecies: the rainbow(sign of the alliance between God and humans), Gideons fleece covered with dew, Jacobs ladder (symbol of the union between heaven and earth through the incarnation). The symbols are completed by the figure of Gabriel who visits the Virgin for a second time to announce the passion of her son. (Gabriel is on the left in the icon)

Anyway, the fact that these icons have similar names suggests that the key possibly lies in finding out what the "Stone not cut by human hands" means. There are a group of icons that are of Mary in the Old Testament. Perhaps the icon with the faces belongs in that category.

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John_Curran
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Thank you, Tom and Daniel! I appreciate your help solving this mystery.
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daniel
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Yes, this is a Lamentation figure, here apparently rendered as a solitary figural icon. In the icon, while she is mourning the death of her Son, the Virgin is seen as if cradling an infant, which evokes- with emptiness where her Child should be- the pain of a Mother suffering such a loss. Very moving, this...
While this is not a common icon, I think this is one of the exceptions to the general rule against portraying the Virgin alone, as this is so clearly evocative of her Divine Motherhood.

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daniel

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Tom
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Well my opinion is that this is a Theotokos from the lamentation at the cross. Her arms are folded is such a way as to suggest she has an infant against her shoulder but I am thinking it is really the Lamentation figure.

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Tom

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John_Curran
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Thanks, Tom.

I've sent copies of the image to both Tom and Jill; if anyone else is following this discussion with interest, feel free to PM me with your email, and I'll send the image.

John

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Tom
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sorry guys the site just does not work. I have been posting links.

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Tom

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John_Curran
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Well, I give up. Keep getting an error message when I try to upload an image. I reduced it to 300 pixels, and followed directions on the "Art critique" forum... Can someone walk me through this? Thanks, John
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John_Curran
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http://www.iconofile.com/upload/name_of_your_image_file.jpg [/IMG]
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Jill
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quote:
Originally posted by John_Curran:
It seems as if there is a Baby completely enveloped in the folds of the cloak, protected by the hands of His Mother. It may be a very discreet feeding of the Baby.

There was no name on the icon, it was in the Mother of God section of the book.

One of the principles of Orthodox iconography is that the Mother of God is always portrayed with her Son, and not alone (apart from some specific examples on which I have elaborated elsewhere on this forum). It is through her Son that she is held in such high regard, as truly the Mother of God. His mother points to Him as the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. To have the Child, the very Light of the World, hidden from view in the way you have described makes no sense doctrinally, liturgically or theologically.

On the possibilility of the Child feeding from His mother, there is an icon type already with us, called Milk-giver (Greek: Galaktotrophoussa, Slavonic: Mlekopitatel'nitsa). This icon arose to counter the heresies which denied the full humanity of Christ. Orthodox hymnography for the Mother of God frequently refers to her nursing the infant Christ (and the incomprehensible mystery of the Creator drawing nourishment from His mother), and the standard Gospel reading for the liturgy of any feast of the Mother of God includes Luke 11:27.

However, in proper iconographic tradition, while the Virgin’s breast is visible, it is rendered in a non-anatomical way i.e. the breast seems to emerge from her garments about halfway between her shoulder and where her “real” breast would be. This anatomical anomaly has been interpreted by some as an indication that iconography was a naïve art form, that iconographers “couldn’t draw or paint”. Not so. The anatomical distortion was a deliberate gesture to portray a theological truth (that Christ was fully human as well as fully divine), while not risking any sensual or corrupting implications regarding the portrayal of the Virgin’s breast.

I am still keen to see a scan of the drawing you've described. However, I would at this stage regard it as very likely not arising from within Orthodox tradition.

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Jill
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multiple [Roll Eyes] post...

[ 23. May 2009, 02:28 AM: Message edited by: Jill ]

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Jill
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quote:
Originally posted by John_Curran:
It seems as if there is a Baby completely enveloped in the folds of the cloak, protected by the hands of His Mother. It may be a very discreet feeding of the Baby.

There was no name on the icon, it was in the Mother of God section of the book.

One of the principles of Orthodox iconography is that the Mother of God is always portrayed with her Son, and not alone (apart from some specific examples on which I have elaborated elsewhere on this forum). It is through her Son that she is held in such high regard, as truly the Mother of God. His mother points to Him as the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. To have the Child hidden from view in the way you have described makes no sense doctrinally, liturgically or theologically.

On the possibilility of the Child feeding from His mother, there is an icon type already with us, called Milk-giver (Greek: Galaktotrophoussa, Slavonic: Mlekopitatel'nitsa). This icon arose to counter the heresies which denied the full humanity of Christ. Orthodox hymnography for the Mother of God frequently refers to her nursing the infant Christ (and the incomprehensible mystery of the Creator drawing nourishment from His mother), and the standard Gospel reading for the liturgy of any feast of the Mother of God includes Luke 11:27.

However, in proper iconographic tradition, while the Virgin’s breast is visible, it is rendered in a non-anatomical way i.e. the breast seems to emerge from her garments about halfway between her shoulder and where her “real” breast would be. This anatomical anomaly has been interpreted by some as an indication that iconography was a naïve art form, that iconographers “couldn’t draw or paint”. Not so. The anatomical distortion was a deliberate gesture to portray a theological truth (that Christ was fully human as well as fully divine), while not risking any sensual or corrupting implications regarding the portrayal of the Virgin’s breast.

I am still keen to see a scan of the drawing you've described. However, I would at this stage regard it as very likely not arising from within Orthodox tradition.

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John_Curran
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It seems as if there is a Baby completely enveloped in the folds of the cloak, protected by the hands of His Mother. It may be a very discreet feeding of the Baby.

There was no name on the icon, it was in the Mother of God section of the book.

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Jill
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Obscurities are almost a specialty of mine, and I'm stumped at this one you've described.

If you could scan even the name of the icon (i.e. its inscription) as a graphic and post it here, I may be able to translate it from Slavonic.

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John_Curran
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Tom, it was a book of line drawings, but it was entirely in Russian, so cannot help with title and author.

Would an icon matching that description be entirely unknown?

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