Strange icons

LBK

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LizaSymonenko said:
...as compared to this one...

The presence of Christ blessing, not the Mother of God, in the upper border is a great improvement on the first composition. However, there are a couple of errors in this one as well: St Joachim was an aged man at the time, so his hair and beard should be white or gray, not brown. The same error is seen in the first image, which also shows St Anna as youthful. The crowns above the buildings on the left and right are a motif expressing martyrdom (the expression "crown of martyrdom" is frequently used liturgically and in the lives of saints), such as seen in icons of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, or in icons of other martyrs where an angel is seen holding a crown above the saint's head. Sts Joachim and Anna lived to old age, they did not die as martyrs.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
I assumed the crowns represented that their house would become associated with royalty.
Understandable, but not the case. The usual iconographic way of showing someone is of noble birth is by their clothing: elaborate cuffs and necklines, and sometimes decorated outer garments. People of high birth who forsake their wealth and privilege for a life of poverty or monasticism are shown wearing plain outer garments in drab colors, while the neckline and cuffs of their inner tunic are decorated.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Wow!  LBK, you are so smart!  I never knew that about the crowns.

You are definitely my go-to person when it comes to icons!
 

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LBK said:
NicholasMyra said:
I assumed the crowns represented that their house would become associated with royalty.
Understandable, but not the case. The usual iconographic way of showing someone is of noble birth is by their clothing: elaborate cuffs and necklines, and sometimes decorated outer garments. People of high birth who forsake their wealth and privilege for a life of poverty or monasticism are shown wearing plain outer garments in drab colors, while the neckline and cuffs of their inner tunic are decorated.
However, were not Anna and Joachim of the line of David?
 

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Maria said:
LBK said:
NicholasMyra said:
I assumed the crowns represented that their house would become associated with royalty.
Understandable, but not the case. The usual iconographic way of showing someone is of noble birth is by their clothing: elaborate cuffs and necklines, and sometimes decorated outer garments. People of high birth who forsake their wealth and privilege for a life of poverty or monasticism are shown wearing plain outer garments in drab colors, while the neckline and cuffs of their inner tunic are decorated.
However, were not Anna and Joachim of the line of David?
Joachim was from David's line, Anna from Aaron's. Being that as it may, the crowns in the second image posted speak of martyrdom, not of noble birth. Their presence in the image distorts what the Church teaches about these two saints.

Here are examples of historic icons of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste which show martyr's crowns floating in mid-air:





 

LizaSymonenko

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....so, what about this one?




....and is it okay for the Theotokos to wear the "crown"?  I've heard that is a RC invention, and that the Orthodox shun away from placing a crown on her head?

Is that true?



 

LBK

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That one was posted recently in the Schlock Icons thread, starting with this post:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47878.msg893114.html#msg893114
 

LizaSymonenko

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Got it!  Thanks!

I'm glad the "crown" is allowed.  We've got a really pretty icon in our church, where she's wearing a crown.



 

LBK

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LizaSymonenko said:
Got it!  Thanks!

I'm glad the "crown" is allowed.  We've got a really pretty icon in our church, where she's wearing a crown.
It's not that crowns are actually prohibited, but they are an unnecessary addition which adds nothing useful or edifying to what is being expressed in the icon. In some cases, the combination of an elaborately-decorated riza/oklad and sumptuous crowns on both the Virgin's and Child's heads, turns the icon into a gaudy, glittering bauble, rather than a work of gravitas, stillness, and spiritual power. The covering of all but the faces and hands of the Virgin and Child also robs the icon of much of the detail which expresses and proclaims what the Church teaches.
 

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...and one more that was just posted on Facebook by a priestly friend.



I understand it's Tzar Nicholas, but, why is he holding the world, and why the crown of thorns?  It's as if he's being depicted as Christ.    .... I did notice the tiny crown above his head, and now know what that means thanks to LBK's post above!  :D

LBK said:
The crowns above the buildings on the left and right are a motif expressing martyrdom (the expression "crown of martyrdom" ...
 

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I believe the globe thing with the Cross sticking out of it was a symbol of royalty in some countries. You see it in old tapestries of kings of England, for instance.
 

LBK

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LizaSymonenko said:
Here's another question I have - why is her cheek bleeding?

The Iveron (Iverskaya) icon, named after the Athonite monastery, also known as Portaitissa (of the Portal) has quite a colorful history. During the ninth century, Emperor Theophilus, who was an iconoclast, ordered the wholesale destruction of icons, wherever they were. His troops would raid churches, houses, and anywhere they thought icons could be found. A soldier saw this icon of the Mother of God at a woman's house, and stabbed it with his sword. The Virgin's face immediately began to bleed, and the soldier fled in fright.

How this woman's icon found its way to Mt Athos is another, and wonderful, story.  :)

There are other icons of the Mother of God which have bled after being attacked. The Cypriot Makhairas (Of the Dagger) icon is one, where, IIRC, a Saracen attacked the icon, which bled. This miracle not only led him to repent of his act, but he was also later baptized into the Christian faith.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
...and one more that was just posted on Facebook by a priestly friend.



I understand it's Tzar Nicholas, but, why is he holding the world, and why the crown of thorns?  It's as if he's being depicted as Christ.    .... I did notice the tiny crown above his head, and now know what that means thanks to LBK's post above!  :D

LBK said:
The crowns above the buildings on the left and right are a motif expressing martyrdom (the expression "crown of martyrdom" ...
Ah, yes, another product of the fevered imaginations of Russian ultranationalist ultramonarchist brigade, who regard the assassination of Tsar Nicholas as a "redeeming sacrifice", in the same way Christ's sacrifice redeems mankind. Vile, heretical rubbish. Schlock of the worst kind.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Wow!  Nice.

We have a similar icon in our church.  I was told the story, that a man was driving his cart along a back road, and encountered a woman carrying a child, walking in the mud.  Feeling sorry for her, he stopped and offered to give her a ride.  She and her little boy, got in the back of the cart.

As he was driving along the oxen slowed, and he pulled out his whip to give them some encouragement.  As he reached back to get some speed, he felt that he had hit the woman in the back.  Fearing he had hurt her, he immediately stopped and jumped out to take a look.....she was gone, and in her place was an icon of the Mother of God, holding the Christ Child....with a bleeding cheek, where the whip had snapped at her.

 

LizaSymonenko

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LBK said:
LizaSymonenko said:
...and one more that was just posted on Facebook by a priestly friend.



I understand it's Tzar Nicholas, but, why is he holding the world, and why the crown of thorns?  It's as if he's being depicted as Christ.    .... I did notice the tiny crown above his head, and now know what that means thanks to LBK's post above!  :D

LBK said:
The crowns above the buildings on the left and right are a motif expressing martyrdom (the expression "crown of martyrdom" ...
Ah, yes, another product of the fevered imaginations of Russian ultranationalist ultramonarchist brigade, who regard the assassination of Tsar Nicholas as a "redeeming sacrifice", in the same way Christ's sacrifice redeems mankind. Vile, heretical rubbish. Schlock of the worst kind.
Thank you.  I had thought the same thing....but, wanted to make sure it wasn't the Ukrainian in me imagining things.  :D
 
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