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Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” (inv.1890 n. 9346)

Central Russia

Room 2
Tempera on wood
28.4 x 23.5cm
1890 n. 9346

The Virgin, standing on a cloud with her son Jesus in her arms, is depicted as a queen, with crown and sceptre. Around the mandorla, emblem of holiness, which surrounds mother and Child, is a throng of supplicant believers, divided into six groups and identified by inscriptions. On the left, from the top, the insulted, the naked and the pilgrims are depicted. The insulted are protected by an angel, and the pilgrims are recognisable by their sticks and bags. The right-hand column, from the top, features the hungry, with an angel before a set table, the afflicted, who are kneeling down, reaching out to the Virgin, and the infirm, who are sitting on the ground with crutches.

The icon is a variant of the iconography of ‘Mary, joy of all the afflicted’, widely venerated from the end of the 17th century, following a miracle wrought by the icon of the Church of Christ's Transfiguration on Bolshaya Ordynka Street in Moscow. The Uffizi painting, stylistically similar to many other icons of the collection produced by workshops in the provinces of central Russia, is particularly significant for the presence of the date of execution, 22 (or 26) November 1733, offering an essential reference point for the chronology of the Florentine collection. The date is written at the bottom, in Cyrillic characters, although Arabic numerals had already been introduced into Russia a few decades earlier by Tsar Peter the Great.

Text by
Daniela Parenti
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