2003 | 3 | 36-43
Article title

THE MIRACULOUS ICON OF OUR LADY OF AGLONA IN THE CONTEXT OF CHURCH AND ART HISTORY (Aglonas Brinumdaritajas Dievmates glezna makslas un baznicas vestures konteksta)

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In the sacred art heritage of the Baroque period in the Catholic regions of Latvia mariological motifs are to be pointed out as one of the most significant aspects of the iconographical programme of church painting. The amount of surviving paintings from the 17th and I 8th centuries is not large. However, some significant examples of miraculous icons of God Mother in churches of Eastern Latvia (Latgale) allow to state a definite orientation in the use of iconographical prototypes. Simultaneously they illustrate specific stylistic features of Baroque art in this region as well as its connection with artistic heritage of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Among the miraculous Icons of Mother of God a very special role in Latvia is played by the icon of Our Lady of Aglona in Latgale (former Polish Livonia). Stories and legends link the paintings of Aglona and the Miraculous Icon of Mother of God of Trakai in Lithuania as the copy and the original. Still the appearance of the original in the Baltic area has been connected with the Icon's participation in the history of diplomacy and Christianisation of Lithuania. A text of later date on the back of the painting of Mother of God of Trakai says that it has been presented to Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas (c. I 350-1430) by Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus (deceased in 1452) to mark the Grand Duke's convert to Christianity. In Lithuania, the present was placed in the Naujoji Trakai church. According to this information the further chronological moment we can go back in the adventurous history of this painting is the time of Palaeologus dynasty (1261-1453) in the art sphere of Byzantine or Eastern Christianity. The first recorded copy of that Image in Lithuania was mentioned in the St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Varniai in Samogitia. In the 2nd part of the 17th century a copy of the image of Mother of God of Trakai was mentioned in Trakai Gate in Vilnius (now in the church in Nemencine). However the Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Aglona has been accepted as the copy which is the most valuable and closest to the accessible original among all known oldest copies of the Trakai painting.
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  • Ruta Kaminska, State Inspection for Heritage Protection, Maza Pils iela 19, Riga LV-1050, Latvia
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