This is a detail of a famous iconographic masterpiece from 12th c. Russia, probably of the School of Kiev, and is attributed to the first Russian iconographer St. Alypy of the Kiev Caves Lavra. It is a stunning image with colorful golds, reds, yellows and browns blended together to bring out, with other masterful lines, the striking features of the Virgin looking intently at us across the divide between Heaven and earth. Intelligence with vibrant mercy move on her face with tender feeling as she contemplates the Infinite Lord of wisdom and strength who dwells within her, shown in the circular medallion upon her breast.
The Divine Infant’s hands are stretched out blessing. His three touching fingers represent the three Persons of the Trinity and the two fingers up symbolize His two natures: fully God and fully man. His forefinger is slightly bent to symbolize the descent of God to earth as a man at His Incarnation. This type of icon of the Virgin is called “Platytera” or “More spacious than the heavens.” Through His Incarnation, Christ is made manifest, yet as Uncontainable God is here enclosed within her womb.