Madonna Eleusa (Virgin of Tenderness)


  • Madonna Eleusa (Virgin of Tenderness) 2
  • Madonna Eleusa (Virgin of Tenderness) 3
Basic information
Madonna Eleusa (Virgin of Tenderness)
Date of creation
late 15th – early 16th c.
tempera painting
wood panel tempera
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
108 x 73.8
Information about author
Object description
The image of the Suffering Virgin Mary is rare for Volyn. The old Byzantine prototype is best preserved in it. Despite this, in the image of Madonna Eleusa, the author managed to show the intensity of human feelings. The Volyn work in the Eleusa style is a rare example in Ukrainian iconography. An almost knee-length figure of the Virgin Mary is depicted against the silvery-white background. In her arms, she is holding little Jesus who leaned gently against his mother's cheek. Preserving the ancient compositional scheme, the Volyn artist enriched it with his own perception and understanding of mother's love and suffering. The face of the Virgin Mary is modeled by soft and barely noticeable chiaroscuro transitions of brown colors suddenly interrupted by sharp white spots surrounding the large black pupils. The cherry-red omophorion of the saint woman makes the brown color of her face look even more dramatic. Mary's large and tender hands contrast with the small and weak hands of her son. The golden-yellow himatium of Christ adds vitality to the icon. The apostles are depicted in the upper two corners. The author of the icon from the village of Dorosyni proved himself to be a shrewd judge of character and a skilled colorist. The feeling of anxiety and restlessness is provided by the contrast of large areas of different colors with the sober patterns of the ornament on the background of the icon. The cherry and silver cold colors predominate in this composition.