Skip to main content

On the Spot! 'In Golden Light' Icon frame, scenes from the Life of the Virgin


Icon frame, scenes from the Life of the Virgin, 17th/18th century, wood, gesso, gilding, paint. Installation view of In Golden Light: Orthodox Icons from Annunciation to Ascension, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, 2019. Courtesy of the Art Museum University of Toronto. Gift of Dr. Lillian Malcove, 1982, Malcove Collection M82.096. Photo: Art Gallery of Alberta.

This frame once surrounded an icon and is also an icon itself. The subject matter is a variation on the life of the Virgin. 
The scenes begin in the top left with Anna and Joachim presenting one lamb as an offering and being rejected by the high priest because they were childless. The bottom red band in Joachim’s garment is continuous in both figures, giving the viewer an impression of a swift turning about and departure. At the centre is the Annunciation to Anna by an angel of the Lord that she will bear a child that is to be named Mary. Following is the scene of Joachim in the wilderness with his shepherds, determined to fast until God should appear to him. 

On the bottom register, Mary is first presented by Joachim to the three high priests. In the centre is the Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple, watched by Joachim, Anna and a group of maidens—the daughters of the Hebrews—holding lit tapers. Anna and Joachim urge Mary forward who stands before the high priest opening his hands to receive her. Finally, to the right, the same priest directs Mary towards the altar, presumably to place her on the third step of the altar. On the sides, between the two narrative registers, are six prophets facing toward the centre and now missing panel.

March 26, 2020

Hours - The AGA is temporarily closed

Monday: closed
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: closed
Thursday: closed
Friday: closed
Saturday: closed
Sunday: closed


AGA members
Youth 0-17
Alberta students 18+
Out-of-province students
General admission
Seniors 65+


2 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 2C1