There are many different icons of the Theotokos, also known as Mother of God, but, they generally fall into two categories or types. This icon is an Eleousa type, sometimes called Virgin of Tenderness or Virgin of Mercy.
The Virgin with the Playing Child, is considered a variation of the Eleousa type and is also known by the name, Pelagonitissa, which refers to Pelagonia, a city in Macedonia, where it originated. Not only do we see the foreboding in the face of the Virgin with respect to her Child's eventual Passion, but, rather than thinking of the Child as playing, there are those who see the child as also being uneasy about his future.
In future postings, I will show more traditional icons of the Eleousa type as well as the other category of icons of the Theotokos , known as the Hodegitria, or She who Shows the Way. This icon is 7" x 9" and written in egg tempera and gold on gessoed wood panel.