(d. 1501, Crete)

Madre della Consolazione

Tempera on canvas and oak, 73 x 55 cm
Private collection

This icon represents a variant of the "Madre della Consolazione:" here, the Christ-child is holding not the scroll with the Greek quotation, but a golden orb, which is unusual in Byzantine icon-painting. The "invention" of this hitherto unknown Mother-of-God type is attributed to the Cretan painter Nikolaos Tzafoures. According to Cretan documents preserved in the Venetian state archives, Nikolaos Tzafoures (Nicolaus Zafuri) was first mentioned in 1487 in Candia (today's Herakleion) in Crete, where he lived and worked until about 1500. Little is known about the life of this painter, who was a contemporary of Andreas Ritzos and Andreas Pavias, and in almost all his signed works painted "alla latina", including purely Catholic themes.

This icon in private ownership is one of the Madre della Consolazione icons signed by the artist. His Latin signature was not discovered until 1999.