Kazanskaya Mother of God, probably a private icon of Tsarina Evdokia, Moscow, second quarter 17th century
- wood, tempera
- 38.5 by 32.5cm, 15 1/8 by 12 3/4 in.
This private icon appears to have been presented to Tsarina Evdokia, wife of the first Romanov tsar, Michael I (reigned 1613-1645) by her parents. The reverse is inscribed in Cyrillic: "To this image prays the servant of God Evdokia, with the blessing of her parents, indispensably".
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In 1613, following the Time of Troubles, Michael Romanov (1596-1645) was elected Tsar and thus established the House of Romanov. His first wife died after only four months of marriage and, in 1626, Michael married Evdokia Streshneva (1608-1645).
The connections between the saints depicted and Tsarina Evdokia, as well as the inscription on the reverse of the panel, strongly suggest that this icon belonged to her. St Nicholas of Mozhaisk on the upper right border of the icon refers to the town where Evdokia was born and reared. The Empress Elena, in the medallion below, and the image of the Emperor Constantine on the left border, underline the connection of the Imperial couple with their holy Imperial Byzantine predecessors. Directly below them are the Archangel Michael, depicted on the left border as the Guardian Angel, and the Nun Evdokia, the two name saints of the tsar and the tsarina. On the lower border are two crowned female saints, the Princesses Catharina and Irina. The link with St Catharina is not immediately apparent, but St Irina must refer to the Imperial couple's firstborn child Irina (1627-1679). St John the Forerunner on the upper left border might refer to their son Ivan (1633-1639), who died at the age of six, but might also be connected with one of the most famous predeccesors of Michael I, Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584) whos name saint was St John the Forerunner. Finally, the four Moscow metropolitans Petr, Aleksei, Iona and Philip in the corners of the icon underline the importance of the relationship of the couple with the Russian Orthodox Church. Also, their son and the heir to the throne, Tsarevich Aleksei (1629-1676), was named after the Metropolitan Aleksei, depicted in the upper right corner of the icon.