Theotokos of Smolensk. Dionisius version. ca 1500.
[Greek, Θεοτόκος, god-bearer; one who gives birth to God]
[Greek, Οδηγήτρια, she who shows the way]
The Hodegetria [Greek, Οδηγήτρια, she who shows the way] is an artistic motif which features the Virgin Mary pointing to the infant Christ whom she holds in her arms. This traditional composition conveys the idea of Christ as the vehicle of salvation. Church tradition identifies Saint Luke as the artist of the first version of the Hodegetria. That icon was a full-length, double-sided version which featured an image of the crucifixion on the reverse. There are many copies of that work but it is likely that the original is now lost.