These exquisitely detailed images of the Virgin [33.79.15] and Christ are by one of the greatest artists of the post-Byzantine period, Emmanuel Tzanès, who worked on the island of Crete. They are arranged on the left and right, as is standard on templons and later on the iconostasis. Their poses and dress follow the Byzantine tradition. The elaborate detailing of the halos reflects contemporary Western influence.
Inscription: Signed and inscribed (in Greek): (below left) [By the] hand of [the] priest [Em]manuel of [Tz]ane; (background) Jesus Christ
Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, New York (until 1933)
Bryson Burroughs. "A Gift of Russian Icons." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 28 (August 1933), p. 138, mentions this icon as one of three heads [the others being MMA 33.79.15 and 33.79.18] from a 17th century Deësis, possibly produced in a Greco-Italian workshop.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 4, notes that the Head of Christ bears the signature of Emmanuel Tzanès and attributes all three panels from the deesis to him.
Thalia Gouma-Peterson. Letter to Gretchen Wold. November 2, 1988, supports the attribution to Tzanès, noting, however, that they could be 19th century copies; states that only thorough technical examination can establish their authenticity.