Various traditions claim the Gospel writer drew one or more portraits of the Virgin Mary from life.
According to tradition St. Luke was a very talented young man. He not only wrote a Gospel account and the Acts of the Apostles, he was also a Greek physician and an artist.
He is held by the Eastern Church as the original “iconographer,” responsible for writing the first icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many painters throughout the centuries have depicted this scene by placing St. Luke in front of an easel, painting a portrait of the Blessed Mother holdng the Child Jesus.
There exist multiple traditions surrounding what happened to the original icon(s) that St. Luke wrote. One ancient account explains how during the 5th century a Byzantine Empress brought from Jerusalem to Constantinople an icon attributed to St. Luke. The Hodegon Monastery was built to enshrine it and later all copies of this icon became known as Hodegetria. Most believe the original image was lost during the Middle Ages.
Whatever truth there is behind these traditions, here are a few more widely known icons attributed to St. Luke.