Trivium Art HistoryMedieval Art

Portable Icon with the Virgin Eleousa

Portable Icon with the Virgin Eleousa, 1300 — Medieval Art
11.2 cm8.6 cm

Portable Icon with the Virgin Eleousa is a Medieval, Mosaic, Wood, Gold Leaf artwork created in 1300. It lives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The image is in the Public Domain, and tagged Prayer, and The Virgin Mary. Source

Mosaic was one of the most popular forms of Byzantine art, used to decorate homes and temples, floors, walls and even furniture, but in the 14th century Byzantine artists decided to double-down. By reducing the size of the mosaic tiles, called tesserae, they developed 'micromosaics' like this madonna and child, which is about the size of a baseball card. This micromosaic from the Metropolitan Museum of Art  depicts the Virgin Eleousa, the Virgin of Compassion — and is one of the few remaining devotional micromosaics left in the world. 

Read More