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The Theotokos with Christ (Eleousa or the Virgin of Tenderness)
Work of icon painter Mitrofan (Nestor?), ca. 1764
A Greek, born on the island of Khios, the icon painter Mitrofan was a monk on Mount Athos. He came to Hungary in 1764 at the invitation of the prior of the Monastery of Ráckeve, Isaija Stefanović, to receive his painting assignment at the monastery church. The icon depicts the Theotokos with the infant Christ, Whose head clings to His mother’s cheek, while touching her face with His right hand. At the same time, the Theotokos holds the baby Christ’s stretched out legs with her right arm. The compassionate and tender expressions of the Theotokos and Christ are intertwined with their tender, yet dynamic and well-proportioned movements. While staying with his assistant, Nestor, in Hungary, the icon painter Mitrofan painted several icons for purposes of private devotion, among others a Trojeručica (Three-Handed) image of the Theotkos as well. He was also in contact with the Athonian Serbian Monastery of Hilandar, and the iconostasis of the Chapel of St Demetrius is attributed to him.
The conservation of the icon took place at the beginning of 2023. The wooden base was in a good condition, though peeling in the paint coat was not evident. Repainting was performed only sporadically so that only the removal of oxidised varnish and the cleaning of the painted surface were required.
The icon is a new acquisition of the Serbian Ecclesiastical Museum, and it was conserved by our long-time contributor, Nikoletta Szederkényi, as an offer for the benefit of the Museum.