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on 8 April 2013

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Transcript of Iconography

How Do You Read Icons? Important Elements
Mandorla/Aura of Jesus: Suggests divinity, Apophaticism
IX XC (Christogram): Name of Jesus, IHCOYC XPICTOC Iconography Introduction Literally translated from the Greek “image” and “to write”.
Icons provide "complex and enlightening symbolism, bearing witness to incarnation, to Christian doctrine, to beauty, and to truth... They have served as 'Bibles without words,' as a means of accessing the transcendent realm through our limited senses. Icons have long been regarded as 'windows to heaven.'" - Zelensky & Gilbert Christian Iconography Kathleen Dunn, Jonathan Gladstone, John Wiebe, Dustin Xie Significance for Christianity Catacombs - The Teacher Sacrosantcum Concilium Contemporary Iconography Iconography Presentation RELS 475 - Christ & Culture Christ Pantokrator Christ in Majesty Brief History St. Basil the Great (329 or 330 - 379 C.E.):
"What the word transmits through the ear, the painting silently shows through the image, and by these two means, mutually accompanying one another... we receive knowledge of one and the same thing." St. John of Damascus (645 or 676 - 749 C.E.):
"If a pagan asks you to show him your faith, take him into church and place him before the icons." Chirst Pantokrator Christ Pantokrator Christ Pantokrator is one of the most common images in Orthodox iconography. "Pantokrator" is the Greek translation of the Hebrew title "El Shaddai," meaning 'all powerful.'
Symbols of the Nicene verdict that Christ was co-equal and co-eternal with God.
Earliest known Christ Pantokrator icon is dated around 6th or 7th century. See Right. The Christ Pantokrator icons are also called Christ the Teacher. In both icons, Christ is holding a book, sometimes open. If the book is closed it is Christ Pantokrator; if the book is open, Christ the Teacher.
Eyes of Christ are asymmetrical - seen in both icons below. This represents both the humanity and divinity of Jesus. It represents his dual perspective - finite and infinite; seen and unseen. In some icons the gesture of Jesus is oddly exaggerated. The hand gesture is exaggerated because Jesus is making the symbol of four letters with the right hand - I, C, X, C. Jesus Christ in Greek is:


(monogram formed with the first and last letters). Iconoclasm: 7th & 8th Century Features of Christ (Veronica) Colours (El Greco) Iconoclasm: Protestant Reformation 6th century - Ravenna (Italy) 12th century - Sicily (Italy) 11th century - Midi-Pyrenees (France) Christocentric Icons Cont. Christocentric Icons Cont. Christocentric Icons Cont. Hand Gesture: Dual Natures
Book/Scroll: Fullness of revelation Wide Forehead: Wisdom of God
Eyes: Both stern and compassionate
Elongated Nose: Suggests nobility
Small Mouth: Always listening
Large Hands: Transcendent Power Blue: Heaven
Gold: Divinity
Red: Passion
Purple: Royalty
Green: Life How Are Icons Used? To call our intellect out of ourselves, and to lift our mind heavenward
Pope Gregory: Images used to "aid illiterate in devotion"
Teaches the viewer about Christ, His character
Thomas Aquinas: "Beauty is the form of truth"
Dynamic manifestation of power; redeems creation through beauty and art
Portrays people in their redeemed state Ecumenical Perspectives Religious Art vs. Secular Art Questions Contemporary Examples The veneration of icons continues in Eastern and Russian churches
Second Vatican Council: Use of statues and pictures in churches should be moderate
Protestants generally use religious art for teaching and for inspiration
Religious themes in art continue, often foregoing devotional purposes Protestantism
Used caricatures of the pope, priests, monks
Luther: Maintained art for teaching purposes only, disliked mystery that made it "unintelligible"
Henry VIII: Establishment of the Church of England, leading to the removal of Roman Catholic images in churches
Sacred Art: Poor use of money, flaunts the wealth of the donor
Three Post-Reformation Developments
Sacred art gives way to religious art
Subject matter expands to include portraits, landscapes, etc.
Mass reproduced images and objects begin to flood the market Religious art has lack of doctrinal emphasis
Landscapes containing inklings of theological symbols, portraits with Jesus at centre
Rembrandt (1606-1660)
Jewishness of Jesus
Also did secular art Basilica Raising of Lazarus "What on the one hand is represented by ink and paper is represented on the other hand in the icon, thanks to the various colors and other materials."
- St. Theodore Studite Nativity - Hagia Sophia Iconostasis - Wide scope of styles acceptable; multi-cultural

- Adorn buildings with 'due reverence and honor'

- Remove that which "offend true religious sense either by depraved forms or by lack of artistic worth, mediocrity and pretense."

- moderate in number, position in right order

- artists should focus on "works destined to be used in Catholic worship, to edify the faithful, and to foster their piety and their religious formation." Should there be regulations on what is accepted as art in Christian churches? Where would the limitations exist? Are traditional Icons outdated? Should we still use them as a form of prayer? How has the use of the internet affected our reverence for sacred art?
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