15 Comments

  1. Anne Ryan

    Thank you so very much for this insight into your process. The icon is extraordinary in that it conveys through the icon form such a range of subtlety and Spirit. Very beautiful and moving icon. Both he figure of Christ and the Young Ruler convey such a depth of feeling and Inspiration.

    1. Thank you Anne, I’m so glad you liked it.

  2. laura

    A wonderful and unusual icon and wonderful words.

    1. Thank you Laura, I really appreciate your thoughtful words.

  3. […] For the complete article “A New Icon Composition: Christ and the Rich Young Ruler” by Katherine Sanders • October 9, 2015 • Orthodox Arts Journal go to http://www.orthodoxartsjournal.org/a-new-icon-composition-christ-and-the-rich-young-ruler/ […]

  4. Angela

    It is very a beautiful and much thought icon! One observation: in true Byzantine icons only the saints were painted with red shoes. It was the symbol of their holiness.

    1. In Byzantine society red shoes were reserved for the ruling class. They were a sign of high authority. In Byzantine mosaics, emperors wear red shoes whether or not they were sainted. When saints are depicted with red shoes it is to show divine authority, not holiness. The contrast of shoes in this icon is appropriate – Christ’s sandals showing ascetic holiness and freedom to walk anywhere, the young man’s tight-fitting red shoes showing how his body is trapped in his role as a rich aristocrat.

    2. Thank you Angela, I’m glad you liked it. As Andrew says, the red here is a symbol of earthly wealth and his secular power: but it binds him to the earth, to this world and that is why he is sad when Christ asks him to give away all he has. I suspect it is a common reaction! I also wanted to emphasis the freedom that comes from not being bound by worldly standards of beauty and elegance: Christ is Himself completely unadorned and yet He is far more powerful in that very humility and emptiness.

  5. fascinating and edifying. Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you Fr Stephen!

  6. This is a beautiful icon, and I enjoyed learning of your detailed thought processes that went into the making of it. Thank you for sharing your seen and unseen talents so generously with us.

  7. Gloria Squires

    Katherine, how much richer this familiar story has become through your beautiful, thoughtful and prayerful depiction, and how intimately we are drawn into the scene, witnesses of Christ’s loving invitation and the disappointment in the rich young ruler’s countenance. I am blessed in your sharing this icon and know that others will be blessed as I share with them.

  8. J. Peter

    Thank you so much for the wonderful explanation!

    I have been musing over a question that pehaps you could give me some insight on: could you please let me know your thoughts on the appropriateness (or lack, as the case may be) of “modern clothing” in icons? Or even period clothing, that is not neo-Byzantine/religious garb/one of the styles commonly seen? I have occasionally (in the case of Asian saints) seen other forms of clothing…but modern, Western styles don’t seem to quite ‘fit’ yet I don’t know why….or whether this is simply a case of unfamiliarity, since most icons have saints who lived in earlier ages.

  9. Baker Galloway

    Cheers Katherine,

    Very nice icon. I wonder if you ever considered reversing which side Christ and the Young Ruler are on? In your composition it looks to my eye (Western, non-dyslexic who reads from left to right) that Christ is traveling towards the young man to meet him. For those of you who have photoshop or a similar program, you can try flipping the image horizontally and discover that it changes the dynamic quite a bit, adding some desired meaning if you ask me. When rather the ruler is on the left side of the composition (source) he is the one traveling towards Christ, but you can see from his body language that he is not fully engaged, and he never reaches Christ even though Christ awaits with outstretched hands on the right side of the composition (destination). You can see even in this encounter a foreshadowing of the rulers return back out of the left side of the frame to where he came from because Christ presents a barrier, a stumbling block in the man’s progress (right-ward movement). Anyway, just an interesting thought for y’all.

    Something I like about the way you did the drapery is that Christ’s falls away from his outer side with more angular energy as if he’s approaching the young man. Whereas the young ruler’s cloak tips off his outer shoulder with limp inaction but actually that first fold almost seems to be magnetically drawn towards the outer frame of the picture, as if his cloak itself is still magnetically attracted to the world and would rather not be in the presence of Christ.

    with your prayers,
    baker

  10. Cherie

    Dear Katheryn, this is a beautiful icon and very well done technically. thank you for taking the time for explaining the thought process behind all the details. one item i noticed is that the red clothing is taught as the color of humanity and blue as heavenly. as a personal choice i would have dressed the rich young man in reds, similar to the Theotokos, with maybe a stain on his outer garment to show the active sin. also Christ has his left hand offering a Blessing. i would have lifted that up to place higher up closer to the young man’s shoulder. the last recommendation was from the quote, “camel into the eye of a needle”. i would have considered having a small camel caravan walking away in the distance. All humble suggestions as you have done a remarkable representation of the scripture, especially where you had nothing to follow. Congratulations! in Christ, Cherie

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