Icon of Christ Emmanuel (12th c.) – J83


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From the Vladimir region and made about a.d. 1190, probably during the frescoing of Vladimir’s St. Demetrius Cathedral, this is a detail of Christ Emmanuel with two angels, one  on either side (who are not visible in this detail).  The icon was brought to Moscow in a.d. 1518 for restoration and then was kept in the Cathedral of the Dormition at the Kremlin there in the capital city.   The icon board is intact with little serious overall damage, but the gold background is now mostly missing, as are the halos.

Emmanuel means “God with us” and is often used to speak of Christ in His younger days.  Here the Almighty God Incarnate is a Beardless Child and the Ruler of the universe.  The Divine Infant’s facial features are those of an adult to portray that although He was born on earth as a little baby, He was always consciously the All-Knowing God.  The Lord is seen here with a serious and intent awareness and also an introspection which shows His inner understanding of His Divine nature and also His loving awareness of all our imperfections.  May we take note and, pricked in our conscience, begin now to repent in earnest!

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Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia


12th c. (Late)