Vilniaus Sv.Tereses parapija
Ausros vartu g. 14
LT-01303 Vilnius
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Painting and its origins

marijabeaukso.jpgThere are various opinions as to the origins of the Aušros Vartai Madonna. According to some of them, the icon is very old, and is a Byzantine orthodox icon which was brought to Lithuania by Grand Duke Algirdas in 1363. In the nineteenth century, this legend gave grounds for the Russian authorities to take the painting away from Catholics. Finally, fearing for the reaction, the Russians gave up the idea to take away the painting. According to the latest research, the painting was created around 1620-1630, on the basis of a picture by the Dutch artist Martin de Vos, dating to the second half of the 16th century, which had been based on an engraving of Thomas de Leu (1580).

The icon (200x162x2 cm) is painted on eight oak boards. The paint was applied on a very thin layer of chalk priming, as is typical of northern European painting traditions. The way the picture is painted gives grounds for thinking it was created in Vilnius.

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O my Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I offer myself entirely to Thy grace and to Thy overwhelming mercy today and forever, but mostly at the hour of my death do I dedicate myself to thee. To thee do I dedicate my body and soul, all my happiness and hope, all my sorrows and sufferings! I offer my life and the end of my life to Thy holy hands so that through Thy merits all my deeds and acts go according to Thy holy will and according to the will of Thy sweetest Son! Amen.

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