For the Orthodox world, the icon of Andrei Rublev “The Presentation” has a special meaning. Candlemas is a Christian holiday that completes the cycle of Christmas holidays. In this icon, we see not just the image of the saints, but the whole story described in the pages of the New Testament.
The Virgin Mary, on the fortieth day after the birth of Jesus, came to the temple to consecrate her son to God. On the icon we see that human figures are depicted right at the entrance to the temple. The artist did not accidentally choose this particular scene of action. Mary, being outside the temple, passes Jesus into the hands of Simeon, who is located on the steps of the holy building, which is a symbol of a transitional moment, the beginning of a new life.
Simeon is a three hundred year old man. He had to live such a long life, because on Earth he had his own mission. He waited for the birth of a child who will be the savior of all mankind. Now, when Maria passes the child into the hands of an old man, Simeon will finally be able to go to heaven – his duty is completed. He bowed before the child and his mother and stretched out his arms. Soon the inevitable will happen, but Simeon is not going to flee from the prophecy. He blesses Mary and her son.
The icon also contains two more human figures. Right behind Maria is a woman. This is holy Anna, the prophetess, who foretold Jesus an amazing life. She told Mary that her child would be the Savior that all of humanity needs. From the face of the Mother of God it is clear that the woman knows about the difficult fate of her firstborn. But she does not show the form and humbly goes to the elder. She understands that her son is a Savior and that is his fate. For Anna follows Joseph, the husband of Mary. The artist intentionally depicts him in the very corner of the icon. He does not play a special role in the events. In the background we see the drawing of the temple, in which the ceremony of initiation of Jesus to God will take place.