As Seen Through the Eyes of the Lord
Ca. 1850
14" x 12.5"
Icons, wood, linen, gesso, goldleaf, egg tempera, varnish and silver oklad
Region: Russia
To understand this seemingly strange icon type, we may look to Psalm 33:18:

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.”

What we are seeing in this icon then, is God in Heaven watching over the faithful believers on earth. The icon is formed by concentric circles, and in the very center we see Jesus as the youthful Christ, Immanuel. He is placed in the center of the “eyes of God,” depicted here as a sun-red face with four eyes. The reason for Jesus being placed within this sun image is that Jesus is the “Sun of Righteousness. In the circle around him, one often finds the text of Psalm 100:6. At the top of the third circle is an image of Mary, “Mother of God,” and her circle is filled with stars.

The four figures in the other outer red circles, each surrounded with clouds, are from Ezekiel 1:10 and Revelation 4:7, considered symbols of the Four Evangelists: Matthew as an angel, Mark as an Eagle, Luke as a winged ox, and John as a winged lion. All are “flying in Heaven.” In the outer circle of the main image are winged seraphim.