Icon of the Mother of God and Infant Christ (Virgin Eleousa)

c. 1425–50
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This is the only known work by Angelos Akotantos in the United States.

Description

This large icon of a tender embrace between the Virgin Mary and Christ likely hung on a Greek Orthodox church’s iconostasis, a screen separating the congregation from the altar-containing sanctuary, which only clergy could enter. A skilled painter of faces and draperies, Angelos Akotantos was among Crete’s most sought-after artists. Based in Byzantium’s artistic center in his hometown of Candia, he painted for imperial clients and beyond. Despite theological differences, Cretan icons of Mary were popular in Ethiopia. In the early 1500s, Emperor Lebna Dengel sent monks Zekre and Pawli to acquire Cretan icons for him. Twenty-nine Cretan icons are still venerated (honored) in Ethiopian churches.
Icon of the Mother of God and Infant Christ (Virgin Eleousa)

Icon of the Mother of God and Infant Christ (Virgin Eleousa)

c. 1425–50

Angelos Akotantos

(Cretan, died 1450)
Republic of Venice, Kingdom of Candia, Candia (Heraklion, Crete, Greece) or Byzantine Empire, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey)

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