3 Comments

  1. Fr Paul Walliker

    Great article! I wish that it had been around about 6 years ago when having arguments with various lecturers, tutors and professors when I was at University. Whilst the spiritual elements may have been disregarded by many of them but the article raises many cogent points. Thanks for posting the article.

  2. Yes, a very important article indeed. For years I have been frustrated with folks who learned about icons from iconologists, and who see them as image-compositions only. It seems iconologists, who like to “decode” icons and treat them as semiotic collections of signs and hidden meaning, are only able to appreciate them as images in the abstract. This is deeply wrong. All of the symbolic colors and gestures could be missing, and a good icon would still be a good icon, because its iconicity lies in the representation of a holy face with beautiful craftsmanship.

    Academia in general is prone to this semiotic bias, no doubt simply because academia is full of people whose talents lie in reading and writing, not in material crafts. I majored in art history, and until 20 years ago, art historians treated all forms of art with this type of image bias. Recently, they have begun to show understanding of the material reality of art. The Getty Museum show of the Sinai icons was very progressive in this regard. Some of the secular curators of that show had a much richer understanding of those icons than any Orthodox ‘iconologist’ I know.

  3. Anon

    While I am deeply sympathetic to this article the Holy Ecumenical Fathers decree that it is indeed the image qua image that pertains to the prototype: that would imply a projected image remains worthy of veneration.

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