This icon is crafted in egg tempera, one of the oldest and best preserved art techniques inherited from the Classical world before Christ, especially in Egypt. It has a bright gold oklad, or metal cover, with jewels embedded surrounding the central figures of the Virgin Mary and her blessed Son Jesus Christ. The icon comes from the village of Palekh, known for its greatly detailed miniatures and carefully made icons, especially in the 19th and the early 20th centuries.
Often the Virgin is shown in her icons looking somewhat to the side and with an inward gaze, for she is contemplating the Mysteries that continually surround her Divine Son’s life in this world. As it said in the Gospel of St. Luke, the Virgin “…Kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). She was the closest to the Incarnate God Who came and lived among men, and her relationship to Him was an icon also to show us how to best love Him personally, but without losing the full respect that we need to show to the Infinite God before the Ages and after temporal time will cease. Let us ask her to teach us how to love Him.