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- Author Paweł (painter from Muszyna)
- Date of production 1st half of the 17th century (after 1644)
- Place of creation Western Lemkivshchyna, Muszyna?,Poland
- Place of discovery Maciejowa, Poland
- Founder Iwan Gluz
- Dimensions height: 134 cm, width: 107 cm, thickness: 4.8 cm
- ID no. MNS/919/S
- Branch The Gothic House
- Availability “The Orthodox Church art from the 15th to the 19th century“ exhibition
- Object copyright Nowy Sącz District Museum
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
The icon comes from an Orthodox church in Maciejowa, a village located between Nowy Sącz and Krynica. This type of presentation named Pokrov depicts the Mother of God, who is extending a veil over the world, which is hanging from her outstretched arms over figures clustered at her feet. Two legends are the sources of this theme.more
This icon has been in the Nowy Sącz collection since 1950. It arrived at the museum as a result of the action of securing the property formerly belonging to Lemko people. This action was carried out in 1947, by the Provincial Conservator of Monuments in Kraków, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Culture and Art, in connection with the mass deportation of the Lemkos. At that time, a group of historians and conservators toured Lemko villages in the Nowy Sącz area, collecting objects found in attics and lean-tos. The artefacts left behind by the departing inhabitants—which had been exposed to destruction or theft—were deposited in the rented Museum Depot in Muszyna, after having been labelled with cards stating the name of the town.
One of them speaks of the Deacon Roman, living in Byzantium at the beginning of the sixth century. The Mother of God visited him in his dreams on Christmas Eve. The following day, the hymn the Virgin is giving birth to the ruler today was composed. Roman received the by-name Melodos (Sładkopiewiec, Słodkopiewca, which translates as “one who sings praise sweetly”). He also became one of the figures perfunctorily depicted in the group expecting consolation and salvation at the feet of the Mother of God. The second inscription, from the tenth century, concerns a miraculous event at the Blachernae temple in Constantinople. Andrzej Jurodiwy, who was praying there amongst many other faithful during choral singing for sinful humanity, allegedly saw the Mother of God, surrounded by saints, with the two Johns, the Baptist and the Evangelist, at the head of her retinue. Calling for penance and hope, the Mother of God was to take off her head-cover and raise it over the gathered people in a gesture of help to all those waiting for it. To this day, the head cover is in the Blachernae temple, protected as a Marian relic, and the vision itself is remembered in the Eastern Church through the feast of Intercession of the Theotokos, called Pokrov.
The Nowy Sącz icon has the following title written in Cyrillic in the upper belt of the border: “the Intercession of the Immaculate Lady, our Mother of God.” The two-part composition refers to the vision of the Blessed Andrzej Jurodiwy. The composition is dominated by the figure of the Mother of God at the top, spreading her veil, shown in the mandorla (the almond-shaped plane symbolizing the sky) above the multi-rowed grouping of saints. Above the Mother of God, there is an arch of the celestial sphere, supported by angels placed on the sides, against the background of Orthodox church buildings. The centre of this arch is topped with a dome. In the earthly zone, there are visible Orthodox church dignitaries, secular rulers, Romanos Melodos, and Andrzej Jurodiwy. The hymnographer holds a scroll with the Cyrillic text: “The Virgin with the choirs of saints today invisibly prays for us to God, angels with bishops bow, and the apostles rejoice with the prophets, since, because of us, the Mother of God prays to the eternal God.”
Of particular value is the preserved, partially damaged, foundation inscription, placed next to the patron, identified by name, shown in the bottom left corner of the icon. The inscription reads:
“In honour and for the glory of God in the Trinity the One and Only and the Pure Mother of God with all the saints. Ivan Gluz had these paintings painted: the Holy Saviour and the Holy Pure Lady, and the Imperial Gate, and the Intercession of the Immaculate Lady, our Mother of God and the Virgin Mary. For health and forgiveness of sins. To the Orthodox church of Maciejów, to the temple of the Intercession of the Immaculate Lady our Mother of God. In the year of our Lord 16..., the month of April, the day 15.”
On the border, in the lower left corner, there is another poorly preserved inscription, referring to the patron and to the painter of the icon: “It was bought by Ivan Gluz, embellished God’s house, for His Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenly holy kingdom, amen. By a greatly sinful servant of God, Paweł, a painter of Muszyna.” The possibility of identifying the author of the image gives additional value to the icon.
Elaborated by Maria Marcinowska (Nowy Sącz District Museum), © all rights reserved