Icon a book about the faith

Word icon - Greek and means "image". Tradition has it that Jesus Christ himself gave them his first visible image.


Who ruled during the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Syrian city of Edessa Abgar the king was sorely afflicted with leprosy. Hearing that Palestine is the great "prophet and miracle-worker," Jesus, who teaches about the Kingdom of God and heal any disease, Abgar believed in him and sent his court painter Ananias, that he gave Jesus Abgar letter requesting healing and painted a portrait of Jesus. The artist found Jesus, but to make a "portrait" failed "due to radiant shine his face." He came to the aid of the Lord Himself. He took a piece of cloth from the artist and put it to his divine person, why on the fabric, with the power of grace, His divine image imprinted. After receiving this holy image - first, by the Lord of created an icon, Abgar with faith attached to it, and for their faith healed.

This was miraculously stuck the name "Holy Face".

Icon - a figurative expression prayer, and it is understood primarily through prayer. The icon is only for praying in front of her devout Christian, its purpose - to promote prayer. Prayer in the icon will explain much without words, make clear to the family, shows how spiritually correct, as an oracle. The language of lines and colors icon reveals the Church's teaching. And the purer and higher life of the Christian, the easier his soul language icon.

In the icon of the Church wishes to express its teaching, its history, tenets of faith, that is, theology, prayer, like the breath of spiritual life, spiritual experience of fathers and teachers of the universal Church.

The world does not see the Saints, as the blind do not see the light. The vision of the Church is distinguished from the ordinary, the mundane, that is visible to all, she sees the invisible, the stream of life in the time it sees a stream of eternity. And that is what escapes from conventional view, the Church shows the iconographic image.

But how can one express the inexpressible, to show holiness, grace? It is clear that it had no human resources. Therefore, church art, centuries to work out your image, it gives a hint, something like a symbolic designation unseen, gives special forms, special colors and lines, special, unique, only the Church of learning a language is an image with a deep, careful approach to it is entirely appropriate that state which the holy fathers described verbally. Clearly that such an image can not be written as anything and everything. Obviously, there can be nothing accidental, individual, arbitrary, capricious. Language icon elaborated mind of the Church, people and stories under the grace of the Holy Spirit, is always in the Church.

Icon expresses a single, once and for all the truth, not to be changed. This firmness of its foundations requires the same solid and stable as meaningful forms of the image itself, and the means of its expression. Those are the tradition of icon painting.

Only he who searches the icon of the external eye candy - the value of icons much deeper. Ecclesiastical creativity differs somewhat different understanding of beauty. Spiritual beauty above the corporeal, and the goal of the Christian life is to climb to the source of beauty - God.

Our remote ancestors who lived in the heyday of iconography in pre-Petrine Russia, was fully accessible language icons, because this language is clear for people who know the Scriptures, rite of worship and participate in the sacraments. The modern person, especially newly arrived in the Church, it is much more difficult to achieve. The difficulty lies in the fact that since the XVIII century canonical icon icons displaced academic writing - in fact paintings on religious themes. This style of icon painting, which came to Russia from the Catholic West, was especially developed in the post-Petrine time period in the history of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.

And now, despite the fact that modern painters are reviving the tradition of the canonical letters, in many churches for the most part you can see the image in the academic style.

Of course, the icon - it is always sacred, no matter what manner of painting it might be done. The main thing that has always felt the degree of responsibility of the iconographer for their work to those he represents: the image must be worthy of Prototype.

But it is often a question: Why, then, must adhere to the rules of the ancient iconographic images if they are very strange in terms of realistic visual literacy - and obvious violations of proportions of the figures, and distorted communication texture of materials, and violation of the laws of linear perspective? Perhaps the ancient painters simply lacked the basic skills in painting? And is not it better to have in churches and homes instead of icons painted soundly?

The answer to these questions will help the comparative analysis of the icons and paintings - paintings, highlights the main external and internal differences.

Picturesque pictures


Internal differences paintings and icons

Picture characterized by pronounced individuality author, original painting style, tricks of the trade composition, characteristic color scheme. The fact of authorship pattern can have a major importance in the evaluation of its audience.
Blame iconographer deliberately concealed as an icon - the creation of a conciliar, iconography - not self-expression, and service and ascetic doing.
Painter, completing the picture, put it on your signature. This is not just a formal acknowledgment of authorship - a statement of his world.
Painter, completing icon inscribes the name of the one whose face is revealed at the icon board. There is a connection of word and image, name and image - an icon is born.
The picture should be emotional, because art - a form of knowledge and reflection of the world through the senses, the picture belongs to the world of mind, the world of sensuality.
Brush iconographer dispassionate: personal emotions should not take place. Icon devoid of external emotions - perception of iconographic symbols are on a spiritual level.
Picture - a means to communicate with the author, with his ideas and experiences, which can be both highly individual and to express the characteristic mentality of the time.
Icon - a means to communicate with God and his saints.

Select external differences, it may seem difficult as painting over the centuries of its existence, has created many techniques, schools, trends. But with all this variety, the icon of the beautiful paintings are a number of very important points:

  • Symbols underlined. Represented not so much the subject as the idea of the subject, all subject to the disclosure of the internal sense. Hence the "deformed", usually elongated proportions of the figures - the idea transfigured flesh, dwells in the world of things above.
  • The principle of the image. Icon for typical inverse perspective, where the vanishing point is not in the depth of the picture plane at an imaginary horizon line and in the coming before the icon of the person - the idea outpouring of heavenly world into our world, the world of Dolny. But it is on the canonical icons are not always present the image only in reverse perspective. At the same icon, depending on the theological ideas, and images may be found in the back, and in a straight run.
  • No external light source. Lightbringer icon in itself. Light comes from the faces and figures of their depth, as a symbol of holiness. Technically, this is done in a special way the letter, in which the primer is white (gesso) shines through the paint (see How do we write the icon (icon painting technique).
  • On some icons we can see the simultaneity of images: Several events take place immediately. For example, the icon of the Introduction shows the young Virgin Mary on it twice before the steps of the temple and in the temple, in communion with the archangel Gabriel.
  • Color is not a means of building color palette icon, he is a symbolic function. For example, the red color in the icons of the martyrs can symbolize sacrifice themselves for the sake of Christ, and on the other icons - the color of the royal dignity (see What is the icon (the icon symbols).
  • The main task of the icon, as opposed to painting, which conveys the sensual, the material side of the world - to show the reality of the spiritual world, to give a sense of the real presence of the saint. Painting - aesthetic milestone of becoming human, icon - a milestone on the way of salvation.
  • Canonical icon does not have random parts, jewelry, lacking meaning. Even the salary was not recognized by the ancient painters, because its function - purely decorative.

It is comparing the icon with a picture of the beautiful is often much easier to grasp the meaning, to understand icons.

Orthodox icon - a picturesque image of the Incarnate Word of God. All that testifies of God, must be worthy of Him, and therefore in the icon is very important formal aspect - namely, the skill icon painter. Icon (especially old Russian) is a part of world culture, and the names of prominent painters are known not only one Orthodox world.

zograf.ru (translation)