The Birth of the Mother of God
Egg tempera on gesso on canvas on wood
Russia, second half 17th century
32.8 x 26.8 cms
Private collection, Germany
The Birth of the Virgin follows a traditional iconographic form and the illustration is both homely and intimate. The mother lies on the bed in the centre. Servants bring food and drink to Anna to give her strength. In the foreground preparations for the ritual first washing of the new-born child are taking place. A servant prepares the bath, pouring in water. The new-born Mary sits on the lap of the midwife, who checks the temperature of the bath water with her hand. Behind the upper right architecture Joachim watches the scene at a distance. The Orthodox Church celebrates the feast day of the Birth of the Virgin on September 8th.