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Detection: Disagreement and Despondency

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Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy
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This Christian icon, a devotional image from the Orthodox tradition, is itself a picture of another icon and celebrates the end of a period in Orthodox Christianity when the use of icons and other religious images were banned and destroyed.

Strongly opposed views about the use of images of Christ and the saints in Orthodox Christian worship led to bitter conflict and violent destruction of images in the VIII century AD (iconoclasm). The restoration of holy icons under the Byzantine empress Theodora in 843 became known as “The Triumph of Orthodoxy”. The most famous icon from Constantinople, that of the Virgin Mary Hodegetria (Mother of God), is depicted at the top of this icon. It was believed to have been painted by St. Luke and therefore to be an actual life portrait of the Virgin. The regent empress Theodora and her young son, the emperor Michael III (r. 842-67), appear on the left, wearing jewelled crowns and robes.

Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy


From Constantinople (modern Istanbul), Turkey c. AD 1400.
Ht 39 cm.
Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund (Eugene Cremetti Fund).



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