12th-century icon of Theotokos restored to its former glory

Vladimir, Vladimir Province, Russia, March 19, 2024

Photo: pravoslavie.ru Photo: pravoslavie.ru     

Thanks to years of work from dedicated restorationists, the 12th-century Bogolyubovo Icon of the Mother of God has been restored to its former glory.

The icon is on display in an exhibition at the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum that opened on March 15, reports Pravoslavie.ru.

The Bogolyubovo Icon in 1990. Photo: pravoslavie.ru The Bogolyubovo Icon in 1990. Photo: pravoslavie.ru     

The icon has seen a lot over the centuries: fires and robberies at the monastery, Bulgar raids, the yoke of the Golden Horde. The icon has been damaged, new layers have been added, and there have been many attempts at restoration over the years—in fact, project curator Alexander Gormatyuk says there more than 20 layers were discovered during the restoration process.

In 1772, after the miracles of the healing of a pestilence in Vladimir, annual processions with the icon began, sometimes lasting several months, which exposed the icon to all the elements.

In 2009, the icon was turned over to the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum, and it was thought it was beyond saving. Nevertheless, restorationists set to work.

Photo: pravoslavie.ru Photo: pravoslavie.ru     

Initially, it was planned only to bring the icon out of an emergency state and stabilize it, but the many layers added over the centuries reacted differently to any changes in the microclimate. Thus, experts set to work removing the layers to get down to the original icon, and in 2015, the original face was revealed.

The restoration process continued until finally the icon was ready to go on display, in its own dedicated room, where specific lighting, temperature, and humidity conditions are maintained.

Follow OrthoChristian on Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe, and Gab!


to our mailing list

* indicates required