Laudation to the Mother of God (Akathist scenes)


This icon is based on a church hymn to the Mother of God, composed by the eighth century Partiarch of Constantinople Germanus. It is sung on the fifth Saturday of Lent. Akathist means ‘not sitting’ in Greek. It is a song of praise during which the faithful do not sit. The akathist hymn praises the Old Testament prophets who predicted the Virgin Mary would give birth to the Savior. The prophets are shown standing by Mary’s side holding scrolls with their prophecies and symbols associated with her. A separate scene, with the verse itself written on the margins, illustrates each verse of the hymn. Mary is painted against the richly ornate background of winding twigs and flowers that create a dynamic compositional rhythm. This dynamism is echoed in the forceful movements of the prophets and the vibrancy of miniature scenes on the margins. The dense rhythms render palpable the feeling of joyful adoration flowing towards the graceful female figure in the center of the icon.