Η Παναγία Γλυκοφιλούσα και το "Ανακλινόμενον Βρέφος" σε εικόνα της Συλλογής ΛοβέρδουPart of : Δελτίον της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας ; Vol.34, 1992, pages 219-238
The Virgin Glykophilousa and the "Reclining Infant" in an icon of the Loverdos Collection
The icon in question measures 0.33x0.45 m and belongs to that part of the D. Loverdos collection not yet handed over to the Byzantine Museum. Depicted here is the Virgin in a variation of the Glykophilousa type (Fig. 1). The particular iconographie features which constitute the variation involve mostly the figure of the half-reclining Christ Child Who appears to stroke the Virgin's chin with His hand turned upwards. Likewise peculiar is the manner in which Christ is dressed, namely with an under-garment secured high up on the body with a wide pleated belt. His himation has fallen to cover the feet alone. Iconographically, our icon belongs to a series produced in Cretan workshops from the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth. Of these, the most important are: icon Λ. 501 of the Loverdos collection currently displayed at the Byzantine Museum in Athens (Fig. 2); the Paris icon attributed to Andreas Ritzos; icon cat. no. 67 (Fig. 3) once in the Lihatschef collection; icon no. 69 of the same collection (Fig. 4); the Chania Virgin; the Zakynthos Virgin; the large icon of the Virgin in the Benaki Museum with the suspect signature of Emmanuel Lambardos; and finally an icon in a private London collection. Besides the Cretan workshop icons of the fifteenth and sixteenth century, we also find the same iconography used in another group of works, likewise important for the development of the type, namely Macedonian icons and wall-paintings in which the motif seems to have prevailed in the fourteenth and fifteenth century. Important examples here include: the wall-painting of the Virgin in the church of Ayios Alypios in Kastoria (Fig. 6); the same depiction in Rassiotissa; the icon of the Philotheos monastery on Mt. Athos; and the wall-painting above the main gate at Treskavach. In these depictions there is also the definitive iconographical element which underscores the type's symbolism: the Child's feet are uncovered and crossed. This detail is slightly less realistically utilised in examples from Constantinople workshops where the crossed feet of Christ are covered with His himation. The chief example is the icon of the Virgin, no. 2972 in the Benaki Museum (Fig. 7) which we date to the fourteenth century. We attribute the Palaeologan icon of the Benaki Museum, with its more classical rendition, to a Constantinople workshop which copied that model which also served for the icons under discussion here. Stylistically, the Loverdos collection icon is characterised by the principles and methods of the fifteenth-century Cretan school of icon painting, observable in elements such as the balanced closed composition, the Cretan ethos of the figures, and the Cretan technique used particularly in the highlights and in the modelling of the flesh. It is very close (Fig. 9) to the icon Λ. 501 in the Loverdos collection (Fig. 10) which seems to depend on the work of the Cretan artist Angelos, something which can be observed more clearly when we compare Λ. 501 with the Kardiotissa icon of the Byzantine Museum (Fig. 8), which is signed by Angelos. Features of our icon which attest a relationship with a Late Gothic artistic workshop (the fleshless hands rendered only with light, the lackluster rendition of the flesh) place our icon at the end of the fifteenth century. Symbolism of the depiction The variation of the Glykophilousa type in our icon is largely manifested by the half-reclining figure of the Christ Child with His hand turned upwards to stroke the chin of His Mother (Fig. 1). Christ's pose is meant to suggest the "άνακλινόμενον βρέφος" used by Photios to describe the Child in the embrace of the Virgin in his famous homily on the inauguration of the image of the Virgin in Hagia Sophia. There the Child-holding Virgin is the "Virgin mother currying in her pure arms, for the common salvation of our kind, the Common Creator reclining as an infant — that great and ineffable mystery of the Dispensation;". In accordance with apt interpretation, synonyms of recline (άνακλίνομαι) are the words " to set up " (άνάκειμαι) and "to fall" (άναπίπτω). Consequently, Christ in the embrace of His Mother in the depiction which Photios inaugurated could have been a reclining Christ (άνακείμενος), or Anapeson. It is no coincidence that the older depiction of the Anapeson appears in Photios' century in the Latin Utrecht psalter, which probably used a Byzantine model, and whose iconography can be associated with the reclining Christ in our icon. Furthermore, the iconographical detail of the crossed feet appears in the Utrecht miniature, a detail which survives in Palaeologan works with the Glykophilousa variation found in our icon also being encountered in both Macedonia (Fig. 6) and in the Benaki Museum icon no. 2972 (Fig. 7). The entire pose of the Utrecht Anapeson with the crossed feet should be associated with the iconography of Sleep-Death as it was applied in Late Antiquity. It is well-known that in Pausanias' description of the sarcophagus of Kypselos, the two children depicted sleeping were shown with crossed feet in the embrace of their mother, and represent Sleep and Death. The same pose already appears as a préfiguration of the Passion and the Resurrection in Early Christian catacomb and sarcophagus depictions of the dead where we see it in the figure of the half-reclining Jonah and his crossed feet. Christian plastic figures known as trapezofora, legs of tables of offerings, legs (Fig. 11) repeat the motif. This relation between the depiction of the Anapeson and the préfiguration of the Passion and Resurrection is also made clear from the inscription accompanying the Anapeson in the Utrecht psalter. The Latin inscription there translates the psalm of David (43.24 [44.23]) "Awake, why sleepest thou. Ο Lord? arise, cast us not off forever". The psalm is illustrated in the Khludov psalter with tomb of Christ and the Myrrh Bearers. The same psalm appends according to the Hermeneia to the "Entombment", to which once again the Hermeneia appends the verse in Genesis 49.9 "he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?", the inscription used in the Palaeologan depictions of the Anapeson. In the depiction, moreover, interpreting psalm 9.33 ( 10.12) in the Khludov psalter "Arise, Ο Lord; Ο God lift up thine hand", Christ is depicted reclining in the tomb and with His feet bare and crossed. A little later on, at the end of the tenth century and in the Menologion of Basil II, the Early Christian figure of Jonah is also transformed into an Anapeson. The young prophet is depicted reclining. His right hand holds up his head which is slightly turned to the right, with a gesture similar to that in the Anapeson Christ. He is likewise dressed in a sleeveless chiton while his himation covers his crossed feet. The Glykophilousa's sketch in the Khludov psalter depicts Christ with His feet crossed and with a reference to the Passion in illustrating the ode "the Theotokos Maria listening to the angel", which refers to the Divine Incarnation confirmed by the Passion. The relationship of the Khludov Virgin with the Passion is also indicated by her iconographie association with the Virgin Glykophilousa in the Capella Palatina in Palermo. The Virgin is accompanied there by John the Forerunner who turns towards her and holds a scroll with the well-known prophecy of the Passion "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". At this time, the Glykophilousa of Kykkos is introduced along with its associated depiction, the Virgin Τ 137 (Fig. 5) in the Byzantine Museum, considered the oldest known type of the icon in question in its fully established form. It is clear that the dogmatic teachings of Photios which followed Iconoclasm, elements of which can be found in the illustrations of the Khludov psalter, were widely applied with a humanistic ethos to symbolical forms in the era of the Macedonian dynasty. Likewise important theological disputes, along with the new humanistic ethos of the Palaeologan era, contributed definitively to the formation and establishment of the iconographie type of our icon in the fourteenth century, which created the models used for the widespread reproduction of the type in the fifteenth. The reclining infant of Photios' homily, with or without crossed feet, constitutes the main expression in the semeiology of the Passion and is often utilised not only in the Anapeson itself and in that of Christ in the arms of Virgin Glykophilousa (especially in the variant discussed here), but also in Presentation in the Temple, especially in the synoptic iconographical version (Figs. 14 and 16) which is furthermore laden with the meaning of the préfiguration of the Passion. The identification of the symbolism in the iconography of the Child of our icon with the Anapeson can be underlined by the use in both depictions of the wide pleated belt which tightens His under-garment at the upper part of the body (Fig. 6) and which sometimes terminates in two vertical bands stemming from the shoulders. This insistence in the representation of the belt is linked with the interpretation given in the exegetical texts of the Genesis verse (49.9) used as an inscription in Palaeologan depictions of the Anapeson, "Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down; he couched as a lion, and as an whelp; who shall rouse him up?" Beyond the préfiguration of the Passion and the Resurrection discernible there (Theodoret of Cyprus: "Who raised him up? He [Christ] raised Himself according to His own prophecy"), the "whelp" is identified with Christ as the incarnate descendent of David, as is clearly stated by Andrew of Crete, "Who was this (the whelp)? Christ naturally, of the royal house of David". From this relationship between Christ Anapeson and David springs in all likelihood the pleated belt utilised in all the depictions of Child (paida) Christ associated with the meaning of the Anapeson and which comes from the ornate belt of David, he wears in most Byzantine depictions (Fig. 16) of him as a child and likewise descendent from Judas.