There are many different icons of the Virgin Theotokos, or Birth-Giver of God, and the two most general names for these variants are either the “Way Shower” or Hodegetria icons, or the “Merciful” icons or Eleusa in Greek, or Umilenie (Tenderness) icons in Russian. This icon is of the Tenderness style. Besides this, many icons of the Virgin are named after places where an original famous icon was located, such as Vladimir, Smolensk, Don, Iveron, Kazan, Korsun, Kursk, Pochaev, Tikhvin, and Georgia, for just a few examples. Others refer to the person or Saint who they were connected with, such as Feodor, or Igor, and some refer to a type such as “of the Sign” or “of Three Hands.”
Here is an icon from the late 15th century in the Novgorod school of iconography. It was originally in the Church of the Entry into Jerusalem in Kargopol in the Arkhangelsk Oblast region of Northwestern Russia. The Virgin and her Divine Son are surrounded by many Saints as they show their close relationship by their cheeks touching and their loving expressions. May we learn from the Virgin how to draw near to Christ our God!