Strange icons

LBK

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LizaSymonenko said:
I've never seen this one before.

It was entitled "Love".



It could be misleading to the casual onlooker, who doesn't know to read the letters identifying the Theotokos.
It is a copy of a triptych panel by the early Renaissance master Cimabue, and it represents the assumption of the Virgin. Other painters of the era painted similar compositions, with some showing both Christ and the Virgin seated on the same heavenly throne.

Here is Cimabue's work:



In reply to Liza's comment, even if an observer could identify the woman as the Mother of God, this image is still, erm, problematic from the Orthodox POV. The bodily assumption of the Mother of God after her death is accepted and mentioned, but not elaborated upon, in hymns and teachings. It is a mystery, and one which iconography has never portrayed, unlike non-Orthodox religious art.

What Orthodox iconography does show, and rightly so, is Christ mystically appearing at His Mother's dormition. He is surrounded by a mandorla of uncreated light in which are numerous seraphim, and He is holding the soul of His Mother, as a babe in swaddling-clothes. This beautifully and eloquently expresses the incomparable honor of the Virgin - as she gave birth and nurtured her Son and God, the Life of all, so He received her soul to escort it to heaven Himself, she being more honorable and more glorious than the hosts on high, as the hymn says. Allowing a "mere" angel to take her soul just would not do. The hymns of the Dormition must surely be the loveliest and most evocative of all the feasts of the Mother of God.

In Cimabue's painting, and its variants, while the Virgin is in a supplicatory posture, she is still seated at the same level as Christ. In iconographic deesis (supplicatory) panels which show Christ enthroned at the center, flanked by the Virgin and St John the Baptist (and others, in many cases), only Christ is enthroned. The Mother of God is indeed the most powerful of intercessors, but she is not, and never can be, equal to God. She was graced with divinity in the fullest sense, but she is not divine herself.




 

LBK

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Even if the stars were there, it wouldn't make this image acceptable as an icon. There is simply too much else wrong with it.
 

LBK

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Mor Ephrem said:
LBK said:
Even if the stars were there, it wouldn't make this image acceptable as an icon. There is simply too much else wrong with it.
Well, I like it.  I know you don't care.  :p  But I think it's a sweet image. 
My dear Mor, sentimentality and iconography don't mix.  ;)
 

LBK

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Mor Ephrem said:
Note that I deliberately avoided calling it an icon.  Don't I get brownie points at least for that?  :p
Glad you clarified.  :-*
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Note that I deliberately avoided calling it an icon.  Don't I get brownie points at least for that?  :p
You'll have to content yourself with brownie points in two natures.
 

LizaSymonenko

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This icon isn't exactly "strange", however, I've never seen one like it.

What is the Mother of God holding?


 

LBK

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It looks like a chalice. Here is another version of it, which I find disturbing because of the Child's portrayal - in profile, and as a generic chubby babe, not as the all-knowing God before the Ages, as the kontakion of the Nativity proclaims:

 

LBK

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For those who can't see the image I posted, here's the same one from another site:

 

Mor Ephrem

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LBK said:
It looks like a chalice. Here is another version of it, which I find disturbing because of the Child's portrayal - in profile, and as a generic chubby babe, not as the all-knowing God before the Ages, as the kontakion of the Nativity proclaims:
Clearly, LBK, you're a little too judgmental on this one.  Our little Lord doesn't look like a generic chubby babe, those are cuter in real life.  This is clearly a sick baby being taken care of by our Lady, who doesn't seem to be able to get him to eat, take his medicine, etc.  Give him a chance to recover, geez.  ::)  :p 

Actually, they don't even look related.  If they looked like mother and son but he was a little more chubby, I wouldn't mind it so much (I know, my taste doesn't matter), but it bothers me that the child bears no resemblance to the mother.  I've never felt that way about an otherwise normal-looking icon before.  He looks like the Christological equivalent of Grumpy Cat.
 

LBK

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Mor Ephrem said:
LBK said:
It looks like a chalice. Here is another version of it, which I find disturbing because of the Child's portrayal - in profile, and as a generic chubby babe, not as the all-knowing God before the Ages, as the kontakion of the Nativity proclaims:
Clearly, LBK, you're a little too judgmental on this one.  Our little Lord doesn't look like a generic chubby babe, those are cuter in real life.  This is clearly a sick baby being taken care of by our Lady, who doesn't seem to be able to get him to eat, take his medicine, etc.  Give him a chance to recover, geez.   ::)  :p  

Actually, they don't even look related.  If they looked like mother and son but he was a little more chubby, I wouldn't mind it so much (I know, my taste doesn't matter), but it bothers me that the child bears no resemblance to the mother.  I've never felt that way about an otherwise normal-looking icon before.  He looks like the Christological equivalent of Grumpy Cat.
:laugh: :laugh:

You might be onto something here, Mor. Looking more closely, that baby does look sick. Like he's about to puke.  :p ;)
 

LizaSymonenko

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Here's one more.  I realize the Mother of God is often referred to as the "Ladder" between Heaven and Earth, however, I've never seen her holding a ladder.


 

LBK

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LizaSymonenko said:
Here's one more.  I realize the Mother of God is often referred to as the "Ladder" between Heaven and Earth, however, I've never seen her holding a ladder.

That's a mix of The Uncut Mountain, but The Unburnt Bush.  Odd.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Lol!  That explanation did little to help. Now I am seeing the use of a ladder to climb the mountain to reach the burning bush.




 
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