The Presentation in the Temple

Artist: Byzantine Painter (15th century)

Medium: Tempera on wood, gold ground

Dimensions: 17 1/2 x 16 5/8 in. (44.5 x 42.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Lillie P. Bliss, 1931

Accession Number: 31.67.8


Icons painted on wood were the principal objects of religious devotion in the last centuries of Byzantium. Identified by a Greek inscription as "the Purification," this icon shows the Virgin presenting the Christ Child to Simeon for the customary rite of purification at the temple. Like Simeon, the prophet Anna (between Joseph and Mary) recognized the child's divinity, as indicated by the Greek text on the scroll in her hand: "This child created Heaven and Earth."