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THE VIRGIN HODEGETRIA
Drawing. Gouache and possibly pencil
75.5 x 31.5 cm.
Late 18th century
The drawing, damaged considerably around the edge, comprises three pieces of handmade paper, glued together. Preserved at the right edge is a red tape for affixing it in position.
The Virgin, represented in frontal pose, holds the Christ-Child in her embrace, her right hand resting on his right shoulder and her left supporting his knee. Christ blesses with the right hand and steadies an upright closed scroll with his left.
The iconographic type of the enthroned Virgin Hodegetria was established in Post-Byzantine painting with the despotic icon by Andreas Ritzos in Patmos (15th century). With minor differentiations it is associated with many and varied prosonyms, the commonest of which are ‘The Lady of the Angels’ ‘Hope of All’. The type survived into late Post-Byzantine times, in icons of large dimensions destined for iconostases, or smaller ones for private icon-stands. The two figures in the anthivolon, robust and austere, with melancholic expression and distant gaze, emanate hegemonic grandeur. The Virgin’s maphorion falls rhythmically and swathes the body in rather rigid folds, orderly and symmetrical in arrangement, emphasizing the formality of her frontal pose. The iconography and style of the drawing point to an accomplished painter with sound knowledge of the archetype, who conscientiously and skilfully reproduces the authoritative Cretan model. At the same time, his faithful copying in all details confirms the appeal of Ritzos’s icon centuries later. The similarity of the drawing to mural representations in the monasteries of St John the Baptist at Lykotrichi (1759) and St John Rogovos at Tsepelovo (1765), which were painted by Anastasios and his sons Ioannis and Georgios, from Kapesovo, advocates its attribution to a Kapesovan workshop active in the eighteenth century.
Χατζηδάκης 1977, no. 10.
Βοκοτόπουλος 1990, no. 11.
Βοκοτόπουλος 1990, no. 18.
Εικόνες Κρήτικής Τέχνης 1993, nos 2 (Y. Piatnitsky), 158 (M. Borboudakis). N. Χατζηδάκη 1993, no. 20.
Καρακατσάνη 1980, nos 216, 277, 278.
Κωνστάντιος 2001, pls‚ 18b, 120a.