How is this image different from other images of Virgin Mary? In early icons of Byzantine period Virgin and Child are usually represented in straight position, directly looking at the viewers and Christ is usually has a ruling pose blessing the World. In Virgin of Vladimir we see the union of Mother and a Child. Their cheeks are pressed against each other. Jesus is looking at mother with love and faith. And even his body is out of proportions (the head is much smaller than the child’s head would be) and he is dressed in adult tunic that shines with gold, we still can see the child who is engaged in a very special moment of love and compassion with his mother. Mary’s head is tilted towards the Child. She is looking at us, but her facial expression is implying a loving mom who is protecting her son; yet it is showing awareness that she is the Mother of Jesus, Son of God.
The pallet of the unknown artist was very limited. We can see lots of dark colors for Mary’s veil and a lot of Gold colors that would distinguish a very special moment that is represented on this icon. The decorations of Mary’s clothes are beautiful and very ornate. Yet the gold does not disturb from looking at Virgin’s and Child’s faces as in my opinion appear as the main point of composition. The composition itself has triangular character, where the top of the triangle is Mary’s face and her eyes. The artist tried to show us ideally beautiful woman with Greco-Roman facial features. Her face is slightly elongated, she has very small mouth and big eyes; that exact features were considered to be ideal in 11th – 12th century. The composition of the painting is very simple. There is no background except the gold that is surrounding these two figures and the letters that represent what we see on the painting. Placing the symbols is a typical approach of Byzantine artist to compensate three-dimensionality. And even we can see attempt of the artist to give the clothing some 3D effect, we still can observe overall flatness of this image.
In spite of limitation of the pallet and a simple perspective we still can see the great dynamics in the Virgin of Vladimir icon.
Do Miracles Exist?
This is just a thought for a brain; but, when I decided to write the paper about one of religious artworks, I had to choose from at least 100 plus images from different religious entities. The day I have decided to write paper was June 23. I was going through the papers of one book and Virgin of Vladimir attracted my attention. Thinking only one second the decision had been made. I have started research on-line and the fist information on this subject I picked that the celebration of this icon is performed in Russia during three days of the year: May 21, June 23, and August 26**.
June 23 !!! Miracle?! Coincidence?! I leave this question open..
How To Be A Woman in 18th Century
Digging through a lot of primary sources for my History class I found a story about one incredible woman who was actually not only earning money from her paintings: but, at some point of her life, selling her art was the only income source for her family. She was the first known woman artist here in America at the beginning of 18th century. And even though her primary medium was pastel, not watercolor; her portrait paintings are vibrant and fresh, which remind me an Old School watercolor art. Too bad there is no self-portrait that I could find (oy, I better hurry and make a few more self-portraits myself that couple of centuries forward historians don't complain when digging up my watercolors :0)
The essay below is written in academic style (bibliography, cited work, etc.) and it has emphasis on American history; but, when I wrote it I tried to imagine how women artists lived in 18th century; and how they survived.