Protestants and Icons

Liz

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But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.
But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.

 

ozgeorge

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ialmisry said:
The icon has a symbolic component in it (e.g. the halo) that has to be conveyed. It's the reason why a photograph of say, St. Tikhon, is not an icon of St. Tikhon.  
What about the Icon "Not-Made-With-Hands" (the Holy Mandylion)? This criterion you suggest would exclude it from being an Icon: http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/1107/5642iid.jpg

ialmisry said:
St. John is shown with wings (since he is greater than any man born of a woman, with the obvious exception) although no one believes he had them.
Actually, St. John the Baptist is depicted with wings because of Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2 and Luke 7:27:
‘ Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,Who will prepare Your way before You.’
In Greek "messenger" is "aggelos" (Angel).
 

Crucifer

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I'm not sure anyone knows exactly what the cherubim looked like in the Temple.
 
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Liz said:
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.
But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.
Of course pictures and religious paintings can contain symbolism. Anyone who's taken an "Intro to Art" class will agree with you on that point.

So what makes an icon an icon, and not just another religious painting? The first thing would be that the iconographer (the person "writing" the icon) is following the canons established by the VII Ecumenical Council. This includes the two-dimensional style figures, and that no shadows are included in the icon. (An icon is to give off light, not receive light.) Another element to iconography is that the icon is not to be a reflection of the iconographer's personal ego or "style" but is to be consistant with the icons painted before him. Now while it is true that each iconographer will have his own little twist on things (after all, we are human) it's not to be immediately apparant.

For example, when one sees a painting by Caravaggio, one immediately knows "Oh, that's a painting by Caravaggio, and not Michelangelo." With iconography, it's not about the artist -- it's about the subject matter. One is focused on what is being potrayed, not who is potraying it.

Icons are not to be signed. (This made my paper on Andrei Rublev this past semester extremely difficult btw! lol)

A really good book to read (that isn't that long) is Pavel Florensky's Iconostasis. It's only about 300 pages long, and unlike many other books on Orthodoxy, the text is not dry, and is extremely interesting to read. The other good thing is that it's available in Paperback, so it's not too pricey. (I checked, and it's available on amazon.co.uk)

I hope this helps clarify some things.  :)
 

yochanan

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Tallitot said:
I'm not sure anyone knows exactly what the cherubim looked like in the Temple.
Do you know? Do any of your Rabbis know? Does your tradition say anything?

But surely, there is/are Cherubim right? And those Cherubim were not regarded as idols most certainly.
 

ozgeorge

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yochanan said:
Just to ask: what exactly does the Cherubim look like in Jewish temples?  :-\
What we know about them comes from Exodus 24:18-22 and Exodus 25:40 (LXX). There were two carved statues of cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant which faced each other and their wings stretched towards each other. So we know that they had faces and wings. There were also ten curtains which hung at the entrance of the Holy of Holies, and each curtain had a cherubim on it.
 

yochanan

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ozgeorge said:
yochanan said:
Just to ask: what exactly does the Cherubim look like in Jewish temples?  :-\
What we know about them comes from Exodus 24:18-22 and Exodus 25:40 (LXX). There were two carved statues of cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant which faced each other and their wings stretched towards each other. So we know that they had faces and wings. There were also ten curtains which hung at the entrance of the Holy of Holies, and each curtain had a cherubim on it.
Were they subject to veneration? :eek:
Does the Talmud or "Jewish Fathers" say anything?
 

ozgeorge

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yochanan said:
ozgeorge said:
yochanan said:
Just to ask: what exactly does the Cherubim look like in Jewish temples?  :-\
What we know about them comes from Exodus 24:18-22 and Exodus 25:40 (LXX). There were two carved statues of cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant which faced each other and their wings stretched towards each other. So we know that they had faces and wings. There were also ten curtains which hung at the entrance of the Holy of Holies, and each curtain had a cherubim on it.
Were they subject to veneration? :eek:
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.
 

Asteriktos

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ozgeorge said:
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.
Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)
 

ozgeorge

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Asteriktos said:
Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)
LOL! Thats right. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only on one day of the year (Yom Kippur- The Day of Atonement).
I didn't know about the rope thing!
 

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Asteriktos said:
ozgeorge said:
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.
Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)
Is that in the Bible?
 

Asteriktos

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Actually, after looking around the net for info on it, the rope things appears to just be a legend.  :angel:
 

ozgeorge

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yochanan said:
Asteriktos said:
ozgeorge said:
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.
Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)
Is that in the Bible?
Yes Exodus 30:10, Leviticus 23:27-32, Leviticus 25:9, Numbers 29:7-11, Leviticus 16:1-34 .
 
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yochanan said:
Asteriktos said:
ozgeorge said:
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.
Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)
Is that in the Bible?
Although bells were attached to the priest, there is no verse in the Bible that says a rope was tied to his foot. I'm not sure if the "rope theory" is oral tradition or a biblical assumption.
 

yochanan

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HandmaidenofGod said:
yochanan said:
Asteriktos said:
ozgeorge said:
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.
Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)
Is that in the Bible?
Although bells were attached to the priest, there is no verse in the Bible that says a rope was tied to his foot. I'm not sure if the "rope theory" is oral tradition or a biblical assumption.
:)
 

ozgeorge

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Sorry. I didn't realize you were asking about the rope yochanan, I thought you were asking whether the High Priest was the only one alowed to enter the Holy of Holies.
 

yochanan

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ozgeorge said:
Sorry. I didn't realize you were asking about the rope yochanan, I thought you were asking whether the High Priest was the only one alowed to enter the Holy of Holies.
No problem. Hey, where did you get the idea of the rope? Can you give me a link? It would surely support icon-veneration. Its a very strong argument because its from the OT: a direct command from the LORD.  ;D
 

ozgeorge

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yochanan said:
ozgeorge said:
Sorry. I didn't realize you were asking about the rope yochanan, I thought you were asking whether the High Priest was the only one alowed to enter the Holy of Holies.
No problem. Hey, where did you get the idea of the rope? Can you give me a link? It would surely support icon-veneration. Its a very strong argument because its from the OT: a direct command from the LORD.  ;
It wasn't my idea. I'd never heard of it before:
ozgeorge said:
LOL! Thats right. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only on one day of the year (Yom Kippur- The Day of Atonement).
I didn't know about the rope thing!
 

Liz

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HandmaidenofGod said:
Liz said:
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.
But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.
Of course pictures and religious paintings can contain symbolism. Anyone who's taken an "Intro to Art" class will agree with you on that point.

So what makes an icon an icon, and not just another religious painting? The first thing would be that the iconographer (the person "writing" the icon) is following the canons established by the VII Ecumenical Council. This includes the two-dimensional style figures, and that no shadows are included in the icon. (An icon is to give off light, not receive light.) Another element to iconography is that the icon is not to be a reflection of the iconographer's personal ego or "style" but is to be consistant with the icons painted before him. Now while it is true that each iconographer will have his own little twist on things (after all, we are human) it's not to be immediately apparant.

For example, when one sees a painting by Caravaggio, one immediately knows "Oh, that's a painting by Caravaggio, and not Michelangelo." With iconography, it's not about the artist -- it's about the subject matter. One is focused on what is being potrayed, not who is potraying it.

Icons are not to be signed. (This made my paper on Andrei Rublev this past semester extremely difficult btw! lol)

A really good book to read (that isn't that long) is Pavel Florensky's Iconostasis. It's only about 300 pages long, and unlike many other books on Orthodoxy, the text is not dry, and is extremely interesting to read. The other good thing is that it's available in Paperback, so it's not too pricey. (I checked, and it's available on amazon.co.uk)

I hope this helps clarify some things.  :)
Ah, should have know to ask you first off! But, I work with medieval Books of Hours. I think the pictures aren't always considered to be icons, exactly - especially those that show non-Biblical, traditional scenes. And the illuminators don't usually sign their work, nor can you easily tell which pictures are by whom. You certainly can't look and say, 'Oh, yes, that's the Master of the Douai Psalter' - you can make a guess, but I suspect it's as easy as telling what was by Rublev and what wasn't. So why aren't these pictures icons? Or are they?

Btw - Maureen, you won't have seen this since it was in the UK, but did anyone else catch the documentary series on the art of Russia over Christmas?
 
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