Possibly the most beloved icon of the Virgin Mary in the world, this tenderness style icon now in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow is attributed to the hand of St. Luke the Evangelist and was by tradition painted from life on a board from the table that the Virgin, St. Joseph the Betrothed, and Jesus at times took their meals. Originally this icon was called the Virgin of Tenderness. In a.d. 450 it was taken from Jerusalem to Constantinople and in the 12th century was transferred near Kiev and placed in the Devici Monastery, Vyshgorod. In 1155 Prince Andrew Bogoliubsky was directed by the Virgin in a dream to move her icon from Kiev to the city of Vladimir in northern Russia; thus the name “Of Vladimir”.
The Virgin is depicted raising her right hand in veneration of her Son, while her face shows silent suffering, calmness, and compassion, not sentimentality. Several important victories in Russian history are attributed to the intercession of this icon, especially over Tamerlane in a.d. 1395 and over the Poles in a.d. 1612. Except for the faces of the Virgin and Christ, the entire icon has been repainted several times, lastly in 1919 by G. Chirikov.