Schlock Icons

LBK

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Nephi said:
So would this be considered schlock? It's a "Young Virgin Mary."

It's certainly not canonical.

The title of this image is Mother of God at three years of age. Orthodox tradition celebrates the three-year-old child of Joachim and Anna entering the Temple, including the Holy of Holies, to be prepared for the awesome and incomprehensible task of conceiving and bearing the Son of God.

However, the following should be considered:

The young Virgin is consistently shown in Orthodox icons, including in icons of the Entry into the Temple, as a miniature adult, in a blue tunic covered by a red maphorion (cloak) bearing the three stars of perpetual virginity. There are many icons of her nativity which show her, newborn, in her crib, not as a babe in swaddling-clothes, which is, in itself, quite proper, but dressed in a maphorion, and bearing the three stars of perpetual virginity. This is quite consistent with the iconographic and hymnographic principle where linear time is not necessarily followed; the liturgical “today”, as it were, as well as being consistent with the hymnography and dogma of the Church.

By contrast, the portrayal of a bare-headed, sweet little girl in a blue tunic holding lilies is an image not from Orthodox tradition, but a saccharine, sentimental image from elsewhere, an attempt to make the Virgin “easier to relate to”. This sentimentalizing and humanizing tendency is frequently seen in western religious art. The intention is honourable, but it can result in an unfortunate “dumbing down” of the holy and sacred. Iconography concerns itself with what has been revealed, and with helping us conform ourselves to the will of God, not with pious sentiment or "what feels right".
 

LBK

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orthonorm said:
Agabus said:
Just for LBK:

An icon of a non-Orthodox saint holding a statue of St. Joseph holding the child Christ.

LOL!
Oh, this is just so memorably BAAAD! More proof (if any was needed) that the originals made by Monastery Icons are not painted, but made entirely by Photoshop.  :eek: :laugh: Love the sour smile on the saint's face ....  :p
 

LBK

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William said:
Oh, lovely. Beautiful workmanship, but oh, so wrong!

Like the infamous Ark of Salvation image, what is objectionable about this image is the section in the lower right corner, where the enemies of God are depicted in quite specific ways, such as the Moslem wearing a turban, and the triple tiara of the Roman Catholic pope. Here's a critique of the "ark of salvation" image from a while back, it is relevant to the image William has posted:

[size=10pt][size=10pt]No, that "icon" should not be venerated. It is simply a polemical propaganda piece, promoting a particular ecclesiopolitical ideology. Some food for thought:

Iconography is, above all else, concerned with the revelation of God in Trinity: of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God which has allowed the sanctification of fallen creation (matter), including humanity (made in the image of God)**; of the signs and wonders of the Divine revelation in both the Old and New Testament periods; and, in its portrayal of the saints, their transfiguration from mere men and women into those who have attained deification, a "oneness with God" and full participation of the heavenly life with God and in God, through the conduct of their earthly lives and their steadfast witness to the true faith. They have become true icons and reflections of the Divine. The word godly is most apt to describe them.

(** St John of Damascus sums this up beautifully: "Of old, the incorporeal and uncircumscribed God was not depicted at all. But now that God has appeared in the flesh and lived among men, I make an image of God who can be seen. I do not worship matter, but I worship the Creator of matter, who through matter effected my salvation. I will not cease to venerate the matter through which my salvation has been effected.")

Secondly, in the same way that the saints have obliterated their passions to give themselves completely to God, icons must also reflect this dispassionate quality. Obvious displays of human emotions, even a “positive” one such as laughter, are considered to be manifestations of human passion, and therefore have no place in iconography. Christ’s kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18: 36), therefore the portrayal of saints in their spiritually transformed state must be dispassionate. This also applies to church singing and reading; the singers and readers are there to glorify God and serve the church by their efforts, not to self-aggrandize. Even the display of sorrow in the face of a saint or the Mother of God should be kept subtle, with the emotion conveyed with the eyes, not through histrionics.

Thirdly, there must be complete agreement between scripture, liturgical content (which represents the distillation of the doctrinal, dogmatic and theological position of the Church), and the pictorial content of an icon for any icon to be deemed canonical.

Hence there is no place for ugliness, anger, enmity, and other negative emotions in iconography. The purpose of an icon is to draw us closer to God. Of course, there are specific examples of didactic icons, such as Last Judgement and Ladder of Divine Ascent which feature fearsome dragon-like creatures swallowing unrepentant evildoers. The Resurrection icon shows the personification of sin and death bound in chains in the abyss. It may be said, therefore, if there is room for such portrayals in these canonical icons, then why object to the presence of the figures in this Ark of Salvation image?

I offer this reply: An icon is a material, tangible expression of the incarnate God. The iconographic portrayal of the saints as icons of Christ, then, should reflect the sanctity, dispassion and boundless compassionate mercy of Christ to those who repent of their sins. Do we not pray to the saints and the Mother of God to intercede on our behalf? Are we not exhorted to pray for our enemies, to love them, and not to hate them? Of all scripture passages on this theme, Matt. 5: 43-48 is perhaps the most useful and succinct:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."

We are also assured that God is Love, and that His love and mercy are available to all who seek Him in true faith. There are petitions in various Orthodox litanies which ask for the repentance and return to the true faith of sinners, apostates, and, yes, enemies. One which immediately comes to mind is "Let us pray for those who love us, and those who hate us", a petition in the litany sung towards the end of the Great Compline services of Great Lent where the Canon of St Andrew of Crete is sung.

There is the question of the iconographic portrayal of prophets and saints who denounced kings and princes. Such scenes are found in the smaller panels of a "life" icon of a saint or prophet (an icon which has a large central panel of the saint or prophet, surrounded by a series of smaller panels showing scenes of his or her life). Keeping to the dispassionate nature of icons, these scenes of rebuke of kings and princes (such as in icons of Prophet Elijah, and any number of OT and NT saints and righteous ones) show the saint standing before the errant ruler with a hand raised in rebuke, but nothing more. It is also significant that such scenes, almost without exception, are never used as icons in their own right.

It is not surprising that certain schismatic groups have favored this so-called Ark of Salvation image as it reflects their particular ideology. This image suggests that those who are not Orthodox are somehow beyond repentance and redemption. Can we really agree with this as Orthodox Christians? The persecuting Pharisee Saul openly boasted of his zeal and success in persecuting Christians, yet, by the grace of God, became one of the Princes of the Apostles, a pillar of Orthodoxy. There are also innumerable converts to the Orthodox faith who have come from every religious background imaginable, including atheism, paganism and communism; many who have become saints, in times of old, and in our present day. The grace of God knows no bounds.

Iconography, as I have said before, must never be used for political or ideological purposes. To portray the non-Orthodox as a whole as being irredeemable and in league with demonic and evil forces to destroy Orthodoxy is a shameful debasement of iconography. I am reminded of a reply to a convert to Orthodoxy as to how he came to the conclusion that the Orthodox faith was the true faith: "The Soviet Union was capable of destroying anything. Yet, despite its immense power and resources, it could not destroy the Orthodox Church. So that was good enough for me." The gates of hell cannot prevail, indeed ...
[/size][/size]
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11209.msg297730.html#msg297730

There is a place in Orthodox tradition for didactic (teaching a moral lesson) images, made to teach a moral lesson, rather than than being intended for veneration. The walls of monastery churches and refectories often feature such images. If the image William posted showed the unrepentant sinners in more generic form, as is seen in proper icons of the Last Judgement or the Ladder of Divine Ascent, then it would have been acceptable as a didactic image. Instead, the portrayal of the enemies of God as seen here pushes this image into sociopolitical commentary, something iconography is implacably opposed to.

It is also possible that the iconographer painted this image in honest ignorance of the implications of the offending section, likely because he had seen such erroneous imagery elsewhere, and simply copied it. All the more reason for every iconographer to be on the ball as to what should and should not be painted.
 

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Here to ruin your day!





























 

LBK

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Anyone remember the film The Greatest Story Ever Told? It had a big-name cast, and grand and noble intentions (Telly Savalas as Pontius Pilate was hard-boiled but fair, and Donald Pleasance a suitably creepy Satan), but was a heroic failure in the hopeless miscasting of Max von Sydow as Jesus (aloof, too old, too wooden), and John Wayne as the centurion at the foot of the cross (he utters only a single line, but he singlehandedly torpedoes the whole picture). Film critics and film historians alike have failed for the better part of 50 years to solve the mystery of why the Duke was chosen for the part.

This Jesus looks alarmingly like how Mr von Sydow looked in the film.
 

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A seasonal favorite:



Not trying to be an actual icon, but as the kids say there's loads of fail in this one.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
Also, are the three Persons emanating from the Tetragrammaton? Modalism and name worship all in one icon!
There has to be an icon that sums up all wacky Russian sects in one. Someone please find it.
 

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Stalin is laughing somewhere deep in hell.
 

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William said:
Stalin is laughing somewhere deep in hell.
In the icon where he is between Sts. Alexander Nevsky and Dmitri Donskoi, it's like they're taking him in for questioning. They probably have some questions for the artist as well. One might think them less terrifying than Stalin, but one would be wrong.
 

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Shanghaiski said:
There has to be an icon that sums up all wacky Russian sects in one. Someone please find it.
Oooooh, that's a tall order, even for LBK's forensic abilities. Only because the gamut of wacky Russian sects covers such a wide range. Russians never do anything by halves.  ;)
 

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LBK said:
Severian said:
Severian said:
Shanghaiski said:
dzheremi said:
I am all for freedom of expression. I am also all for putting Robert Lentz in jail forever, with no painting supplies.
+1
+2

One of my favorite "Schlock Icons"


Origen of Alexandria
Who drew (not wrote, because it is uncanonical) this Image?


The artist is William Hart McNichols, a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest, and arguably the best-known protege of Robert Lentz. He has said this about his mentor: "Lentz is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on icons today."

Says it all, really. The bulk of McNichols' work is no less egregious and blasphemous than Lentz's. McNichols has not only painted an "icon" of a declared heretic, but seems to be unaware that Origen was an avowed iconoclast. Oh, the irony!  :p :p ::)


Origen was an Iconoclast?​
 

Shanghaiski

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Ironically, the "Orthodox" icon of Stalin (the one the mustache-less man, probably mustacheless out of reverence for Stalin, is holding) does more to elevate Stalin to God-like status than any Soviet iconography did. Orthodox icons of Stalin should display him as a non-martyr or a martyr of one believes he was killed (but certainly not depict him like Christ). He should be holding either a list of his victims or a cigar. He does not give blessings, but may give a "high five" or thumbs-up, but the thumbs-up must be accompanied by an enigmatic, unsettling grin. I think, if it's a gift for Isa, Stalin can be depicted holding maps, either of gulags or conquests.
 

Gunnarr

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the stalin icon is the worst one so far
 

Agabus

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I know this is of non-Orthodox origin (it is the Catholic ‘Our Lady of the New Advent’), but...Is there any rule against having Christ depicted holding, I dunno, greenery?



 

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Here is one that claims to be of Arius the heretic




And Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ (It is monastery icons, though, to be fair, but still a shlock icon nonetheless

 

Schultz

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Eastern Mind said:
Here is one that claims to be of Arius the heretic




And Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ (It is monastery icons, though, to be fair, but still a shlock icon nonetheless

I find both of these far more offensive than any Stalin icon.
 

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Might as well round it out — Nestorious:



 

LBK

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Agabus said:
Might as well round it out — Nestorious:

That's not Nestorius. That is a 12th century icon of St Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocaesaria.
 

LBK

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akimori makoto said:
Eastern Mind said:
Here is one that claims to be of Arius the heretic

And I think that's St Spyridon.
Yes, it is St Spyridon. The inscription is pretty clear, and the saint is wearing his distinctive wicker shepherd's hat.
 

LBK

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Eastern Mind said:
And Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ (It is monastery icons, though, to be fair, but still a shlock icon nonetheless

Oh, good grief! Even more reason not to buy from Monastery Icons ...  :eek: :p :p :p
 

LBK

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NicholasMyra said:
Agabus said:
Is there any rule against having Christ depicted holding, I dunno, greenery?
Only if it is coriander, olive or lemon.
Coriander? Coriander?? OREGANO!!  :laugh:
 
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