Our Lady of Vladimir
Year : 1155
One of the most famous and most beautiful of all icons of the Mother of God is that of Vladimir. She is depicted cheek to cheek with the Child, whose arms caress her, yet the image is strong and noble in workmanship, completely free from “sweetness” and sentimentality.
It is the great example of the type of icon that the Russians call tenderness; the Greeks express the same. It was probably painted in Constantinople in the twelfth century, but is first heard of in Kiev, whence it was taken in 1155 to the city of Vladimir.
It became famous for wonders and was reverenced as Russia’s most sacred image, so that it was in 1395 enshrined in the cathedral of the Assumption in the Kremlin at Moscow. Several times the Tartars were beaten back under its inspiration and it was carried to critical places in time of distress; the last time it was taken to the battlefront during World War I.
All the tsars were crowned and patriarchs installed in the presence of this image, up to the revolution. It has been reproduced many times in copies and in book illustrations. The Russian calendar commemorates the feast of Our Lady of Vladimir on May 21.