Images of Christ Emmanuel first appeared around the 6th century in the form of the mosaics in the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. This theme was also used in Byzantine and Balkan religious art, but a bit later – in the 14th century. However, it was in the 12th century in Russia that the iconography of Emmanuel received the greatest recognition.
The young Jesus is usually depicted dressed in a golden himation and chiton, sometimes with a scroll in His hand. Christ’s face expresses wisdom and severity. His forehead is high and wide, His hair is thick and wavy, and His gaze is serious. The icon of Christ Emmanuel shows that even in His infancy, the Savior was already filled with divinity combined with His human beginning. Following the Orthodox tradition, He is often depicted with mature facial features. However, there are also images of Christ Emmanuel with childlike features. Such icons are mainly inspired by Western painting.