Luke as an artist
Christian tradition, starting from the 8th century, states that he was the first icon painter. He is said to have painted pictures of the Virgin Mary and Child, in particular the Hodegetria image in Constantinople (now lost). Starting from the 11th century a number of painted images were venerated as his autograph works, including for example, the Black Madonna of Częstochowa and Our Lady of Vladimir. He was also said to have painted Saints Peter and Paul, and to have illustrated a gospel book with a full cycle of miniatures.
It is generally believed that Luke was a gentile doctor. He was a good, kind man who came to know the Lord from the great apostle Paul. After he had become a Christian, he went everywhere with Paul. The Bible calls Luke “the beloved physician.” St. Luke the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Although he did not meet Jesus while the Lord was on this earth, he wanted to write about him for new converts. So he talked to those who had known Jesus. He wrote down all that they had seen the Lord do and heard him say. It is believed that Luke learned some important information from the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. Mary would have been the person who could describe the details of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to her at the Annunciation. Mary could have best told about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. Luke also wrote the story of how the apostles began to teach the message of Jesus after he went back to heaven. It is in Luke’s book, The Acts of the Apostles, that we learn how the Church began to grow and spread. We are not sure when or where or how Luke died.