St. Mark's Basilica
Wood, gem stones, 48 cm
The Madonna of San Luca, known as the Virgin Nicopeia, meaning the bringer of victory, is conserved in the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, in the left transept of the chapel of the same name. It is an icon of the 9th Century. In the past it was covered in numerous ostentatious decorations such as diamonds and rubies, which are now no longer there following a theft. The precious jewels, later recovered, are now displayed in the Treasury. As all the icons of this kind, the Virgin Nicopeia faces the front with the Child resting on her knees. The physiognomy of their faces is extremely simple with typical traits of Byzantine physiognomy (very long nose, long arched eyebrows, small mouth, oval face) and both turn the eyes slightly to the left. Legend has it that the artist painter was Luke the Evangelist: it is especially venerated for this reason.