Title: Mary and Her Son, and Apostles and Saints George and Theodore
Medium: Tempera on wood
Size: 25 x 40 cm
Date: c. 1480
The dominant image of this diptych is that of the Christ Child as he touches his mother's chin, a gesture of affection that was probably inspired by 15th-century Italian paintings then greatly admired at the Ethiopian royal court. Further imagery on the diptych that had great appeal for the upper classes in
The origins of Christianity in
The artist is most likely a follower of Fre Seyon, the celebrated 15th-century monk and artist. Seyon is credited with the development of the devotional Marian Icon images and style. He left only one signed work during his career, which may be dated to the period of about 1445-80. Mary became an extremely important figure in the Ethiopian church when Emperor Zar'a Ya'eqob (r. 1434–68) mandated the reading of the Miracles of the Virgin Mary, and that she be honored at most of the thirty feast days in the liturgical year.