Monastery of St. John the Divine
17th Century Nativity by Theodoros Poulakis, Cretan School
This icon is dedicated to the Virgin who is shown enthroned, surrounded with scenes from her life, including the Annunciation (left) and The Nativity (right). (Monastery of St. John the Divine, Patmos, Greece.)
|Scenes of the Virgin and Christ and of the Holy Fathers adorn this icon from the Monastery of St. John the Divine, Patmos, Greece. || |
The Virgin is depicted Enthroned at bottom center, and banners held by angels praise the Mother of God:
"Hail Thou who are the Cathedra of the King, Hail Thou Who Holds Him Who holds All." "Hail, Thou who art the Consolation of Those Who Grieve." "Hail, the Mother of Charity."
In the scne of The Annunciation, at bottom left, the Archangel Gabriel's banner announces, "Hail, Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee."
And, of course, hovering above The Nativity at bottom right, two angels hold aloft a banner a "Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth Peace Good Will Towards Men" banner.
The Virgin, Joseph, and an angel kneel in front of the Babe; shepherds approach the manger; and angels unfurl a "Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth Peace" banner in this exquisitely detailed closeup of the icon of The Virgin from the island of Patmos (left).
"Hail, Mother of Giving;" "Hail, You Who holds the One bears the Universe;" "Hail, Solace of the Afflicted," read the banners held by angels on either side of The Virgin.
Other images (top row, right to left) depict the Angelic Host; The Virgin in heaven; the Holy Fathers; (middle row) Paradise; a church, a visual iconographic metaphor for Mary; and Virgin Martyrs enveloped in a cloud.
In this beautiful icon of the Cretan style, Byzantine austerity is replaced by touching tenderness, as evident in the depiction of The Nativity.