Mother of Sign, handmade Russian icon, Moscow. Late 19th and early 20th Century.
Icon of Mother of Sign.
Handmade Russian icon, Moscow. Late 19th and early 20th C. (1886-1900)
The icon is in excellent condition, made in four different levels,
First: wood, second canvas, third gold leaf and fourth the painting level.
Size :32x25 cm, 12.5x9.8 inch.
The icon shows the Mother of God from the waist up, facing us, with her hands lifted up to the level of her head, elbows bent. From time immemorial this gesture has signified a prayerful appeal to God. The Christ-child, Emmanuel, is depicted in a circle of light at her bosom. Icons of this type were, and still are sometimes, called Oranta (Latin for praying). Her prayerful stance also gives the impression of presenting us with Christ, and our attention is drawn – as always with icons of the Theotokos – to her Son, our Saviour.
In the Russian land, this image acquired the name Our Lady “of the Sign” (Znamenie – Знамение). It is sometimes thought – quite understandably, given the Icon’s composition – in which this name refers to the prophecy of Isaiah:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
And shall call His name Immanuel