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Icon of the Tree of Jesse – T63

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Michael Damaskinos painted this icon of the Tree of Jesse showing the Virgin seated on a tree coming out of Jesse who lies underneath at the root of the tree, with the Lord on her lap and held in her arms.  Surrounding them are thirteen ancestors from the Old Testament of this descent, for Jesse was the father of King David of whose lineage the King of King and Lord of Lords would come, whose ancestors are told of in Matthew (chap. 1) and Luke (chap. 3).  It was foretold that the Saviour would be of the House of David, and Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary were from that House.

Although in a normal family tree the youngest generation names go toward the bottom and their ancestors are found further up, in this tree the Virgin and her Son dominate this representation with their ancestors out on the branches.  Here King David appears at the top center and King Solomon (David’s son) on the top left.  This icon is from the late 16th century and was restored in 1906.  It now resides at Saint Catherine’s Monastery at the base of Mount Sinai in the Egyptian desert on the Sinai Pennisula, which is the site of the Burning Bush.     

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Egg Tempera




St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt


16th c. (Late)


Damaskinos, Michael