Solid wood, levkas (gesso), 24 K gold leaf, egg yolk tempera.
Veronica Jane Gatti, 2022.
The prototype of this icon comes from the Italian-Cretian School of the XV century, especially from the icons paint by Andrea Ritzos.
This icon, also called Our Lady of Sorrows, became widespread in the middle of the 15th century after the Catholic Church instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in 1423. An example of this is the icon made by Andrea Ritzos for the church of Saint Nicola of Bari. While the sorrow is represented underneath the love between mother and son in the other typologies of the Mother of God of Tenderness, this icon represents the Crucifixion through the symbols of the Passion of Our Lord held by the Archangels:
-The Cross on which Jesus was crucified
-The Holy Sponge set on a reed, with which gall and vinegar were offered to Jesus
-The Holy Lance with which a Roman soldier inflicted the final of the Five Wounds in his side.
In some cases, like the icon by Andrea Ritzos at the Pinacoteque of Parma, we can read an inscription in Greek and Latin: “The Angel, that had brought his Ave to the most pure Virgin, now presents the symbols of Passion, and Christ, in his human body, scared by the destiny that is waiting for Him, contemplates the terrible tools”. In this scared Child we can see all the humanity of Christ and the Mystery of the Incarnation.
The icon is also meant to be read in each part, for example in the position of the hands and feet. In this way the icon reveals its theological meanings. We can contemplate the divine nature of Christ by looking at the sandal that falls off his foot and leaves the soles bared. Recalling the prophecy in Genesis 3,15 the icon shows the heel of the woman’s descendant that will crush the head of the tempter. Christ is the descendant that crush the head of the ancient serpent. He has suffered the Crucifixion opening the doors of hell, rising from the dead and crushing the tempter’s head. He defeats dead. The Virgin Mary has a solid and majestic figure, capable of enclosing the Emmanuel. She is Christ’s throne, holding He who brings us the Divine Wisdom, the inexhaustible light. The Child’s orange mantle is illuminated by golden rays, as the sun that never sets. The icon of The Mother of God of the Passion is venerated within the Catholic, Greek and the Russian Orthodox Churches.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour) is another title used for this type of icon, especially within the Roman Catholic Church. The title of Perpetual Help is associated with a 15th-century Byzantine icon related to a Marian apparition. The icon is believed to have originated from the Keras Kardiotissas Monastery and has been in Rome since 1499. Today it is permanently enshrined in the Church of Saint Alphonse of Liguori, where the official Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help text is prayed weekly. In this case the Virgin Mary wears a blue mantle indicating that she is the Queen of Heaven. Her tunic is red with touches of blue, because the heavenly light reaches the sacrifice of the blood of Christ. The Salvation that comes from the Sacrifice became possible through t the Virgin Mary.