This is another superb example of the famous iconographer Michael Damaskinos’ work from the late 16th century in the post-Byzantine Cretan style. There was a great exodus of artistic and academic talent that moved to the West after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, bringing the undimmed legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire which tied back to Roman Antiquity. In fact, the first modern Platonic Academy was set up by a Byzantine scholar, first in Mistra just before 1453, and then in Italy after the loss of the Queen City of Christendom to the Moslems. Philosophy, art, science, and a wealth of practical knowledge came West, helping to fuel the Renaissance and the years afterwards.
This icon is a direct result of that artistic outpouring and is named in Greek “Hodegetria” for the Directress or Indication of the Way, which is one of the common appellations of icons of the Virgin Mary. It has a reddish-hued gold background with bright clear reds and blues in the Virgin’s clothes, and shows two angels looking down from above. The master’s strokes are here evident for all to see, and this work is inspired by the Master of all.