Icon of the Theotokos “Eleusa-Kiksk” – T65


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Merciful (Eleusa)




Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia


17th c. (Mid)


Ushakov, Simon


Moscow Armory


This striking icon from 1668 was made at the Armory School of Iconography in Moscow by the hand of the famous and influential Russian iconographer Simon Ushakov who founded and headed that school in the mid-17th century.  Of the “Eleusa” or “Merciful” type of icon of the Mother of God, here the Compassionate Virgin holds the Divine Infant up to her face and He lightly holds on to her veil, both looking within.  The sweetness of expression of Mother and Child reminds us that God is most personal and real.  The very ground and foundation of His relationship with others is enormous and inwardly radiant love when it is reciprocated, as it was with the Virgin.  Her expression is almost luminous, for she holds her great joy, and offers to share this intimate love of God with each of us.

The shades of green, gold, and red of this icon, along with the lively eyes and fine detail show the mastery of the Armory School and its master iconographer.  This icon of the Virgin makes a striking companion when paired with the icon of the Pantocrator (Moscow, 1670), our icon J40.  See the great beauty of the Lord!