The Virgin Eleusa
When the Virgin and Child are posed in the manner of this icon, with the infant Christ reaching to caress his mother, the image is referred to as the "Virgin Eleusa." "Eleusa" means tenderness. This Virgin Eleusa is one of the important examples of the early icons which distinguish the State Russian Museum's collection. One of the most famous icons in Russian art, the so called "Virgin of Vladimir" of the early twelfth century, now in the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery at Moscow, also takes the Virgin Eleusa form.
This icon was found at Yaroslav, on the Volga River. The city was destroyed by the Tartars in 1238, attacked by Ivan I Kalita in 1332, and was captured by Novgorod in 1371. Thus, during the fourteenth century the life of the city was in constant turmoil, and many works of art were probably plundered.