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Monastery of Stavronikita
15th century The Nativity of the Cretan School

In this icon from the Cretan School, the Virgin kneels, hands crossed, venerating the Newborn Child—Monastery of Stavronikita, Mount Athos, Greece.

This new icon , based on the Stavronikita Monastery Byzantine original, remains faithful to the Cretan School. (Orpheus Gallery, Monastiraki, Athens.)

A reclining, not kneeling, Virgin is a more usual motif in Eastern Orthodox icons of The Nativity.

The kneeling Virgin appeared in the 15th century, in icons of the so-called Cretan School.

This fine example (above, by Theophanis the Cretan) incorporates elements from the Canonical and apocryphal Gospels.

Sadly, this beautiful icon does not survive in its entirety, having, at some time in its history, been reduced in width.

This is apparent in the half-image of the pensive Joseph; the cat and dog cut in half (behind the woman holding Jesus and testing the temperature of the bath with her other hand); and the third, missing Magi.

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