Strange icons

Antonis

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Mor Ephrem said:
Antonis said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Antonis said:
In the icon of the theophany at my church, the Father is "depicted" as a voice. Is this uncommon?
What does "the voice" look like when painted as an image?
"This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Are you saying that those words are painted onto the icon? 
Yes, in Greek, in a small orb above the Holy Spirit descending as a dove.
 

Antonis

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LBK said:
Antonis said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Antonis said:
In the icon of the theophany at my church, the Father is "depicted" as a voice. Is this uncommon?
What does "the voice" look like when painted as an image?
"This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Words are not made of anything. God the Father remains invisible and bodiless.
And yet that wasn't the point.
 

LBK

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Antonis said:
LBK said:
Antonis said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Antonis said:
In the icon of the theophany at my church, the Father is "depicted" as a voice. Is this uncommon?
What does "the voice" look like when painted as an image?
"This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Words are not made of anything. God the Father remains invisible and bodiless.
And yet that wasn't the point.
It is very much the point. God the Father, as He has revealed Himself, remains invisible and bodiless. A voice has no form or shape, and it certainly doesn't look like a bearded old man.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Mor Ephrem said:
LBK said:
...it depicts God the Father as an old man, where He has only ever been revealed as a voice and as a rushing wind, and never as incarnate; and it depicts the Holy Spirit as a dove, when the Spirit is not a dove by nature. The Holy Spirit as a dove is only permissible in icons of Theophany (Baptism of the Lord), as it is in this form that the Spirit was manifest at that particular time and place.
1.  Leaving aside the appearance to Abraham, the visions of the prophet Daniel, etc., if you claim that the Father "has only ever been revealed as a voice and as a rushing wind", does this mean that the Father could be depicted as a voice or as a wind if there was an iconographic convention for painting these things?  Why or why not?  

2.  The Spirit is not a dove by nature, but can be depicted as such in the Theophany icon because you say that it was in that particular form that He manifested "at that particular time and place".  Leaving aside the fact that it is not clear from the Gospels whether the Spirit manifested in the form of a dove or merely descended like a dove, what does this principle mean for other iconographic conventions that are not strictly limited to "particular time and place" (e.g., depictions of the child Jesus as a miniature thirty year old in the arms of his Mother or appearing as if entombed in the Nativity icon)?
 
 

Antonis

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LBK said:
Antonis said:
LBK said:
Antonis said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Antonis said:
In the icon of the theophany at my church, the Father is "depicted" as a voice. Is this uncommon?
What does "the voice" look like when painted as an image?
"This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Words are not made of anything. God the Father remains invisible and bodiless.
And yet that wasn't the point.
It is very much the point. God the Father, as He has revealed Himself, remains invisible and bodiless. A voice has no form or shape, and it certainly doesn't look like a bearded old man.
Whose point, yours? I was making no point, merely commenting on Mor's post. I wasn't addressing you.
 

Antonis

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Antonis said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Antonis said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Antonis said:
In the icon of the theophany at my church, the Father is "depicted" as a voice. Is this uncommon?
What does "the voice" look like when painted as an image?
"This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Are you saying that those words are painted onto the icon? 
Yes, in Greek, in a small orb above the Holy Spirit descending as a dove.
It might also be worth noting that the mandorla surrounding the Holy Spirit is connected via a narrow strip of light to the orb surrounding the Father's voice, showing the Spirit proceeding from the Father.
 

LBK

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does this mean that the Father could be depicted as a voice or as a wind if there was an iconographic convention for painting these things?  Why or why not?  
Voice and wind have no form or substance. The absence of any real attempt to portray wind and voice in icons is also telling. It also bears repeating that there is a difference between a divine manifestation, and the fullness of divine revelation. The Father and the Holy Spirit have only fleetingly and sporadically revealed themselves in symbolic manifestations of one sort or another, and not in the fullness of their nature. The Father is not a wind or voice, the Spirit is not a white bird by nature. Christ, OTOH, became incarnate, taking human flesh and making it his own, and even allowed three of His disciples to glimpse a small taste of the fullness of His divinity at the Transfiguration.

Leaving aside the fact that it is not clear from the Gospels whether the Spirit manifested in the form of a dove or merely descended like a dove, what does this principle mean for other iconographic conventions that are not strictly limited to "particular time and place" (e.g., depictions of the child Jesus as a miniature thirty year old in the arms of his Mother or appearing as if entombed in the Nativity icon)?  
The "maturity" of the Child expresses His eternal existence and His omniscience. He is not a generic helpless babe, but fully and completely God as well as Man. His depiction as a babe in swaddling clothes in a stone crib again looks to His coming passion death and burial. Icons are static and narrative, all at the same time.
 

Mor Ephrem

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LBK said:
does this mean that the Father could be depicted as a voice or as a wind if there was an iconographic convention for painting these things?  Why or why not?  
Voice and wind have no form or substance. The absence of any real attempt to portray wind and voice in icons is also telling.
OK, so there is no iconographic convention for depicting wind or speech. 

It also bears repeating that there is a difference between a divine manifestation, and the fullness of divine revelation. The Father and the Holy Spirit have only fleetingly and sporadically revealed themselves in symbolic manifestations of one sort or another, and not in the fullness of their nature. The Father is not a wind or voice, the Spirit is not a white bird by nature. Christ, OTOH, became incarnate, taking human flesh and making it his own, and even allowed three of His disciples to glimpse a small taste of the fullness of His divinity at the Transfiguration.
Has the fullness of Christ's divinity been revealed to men, or only "a small taste...at the Transfiguration"?  Because it seems you're making a point of how the fullness of the Father's and the Spirit's nature hasn't been revealed to us, and so we cannot depict them; and yet, we can depict Christ, whose humanity is revealed to us, but whose divinity is only "glimpsed".  How much "glimpsed divinity" is enough to justify a painting? 

And if Christ's divinity can be glimpsed, and we can paint icons of Christ incorporating this, is his divinity something different from that of the Father and of the Spirit, that they cannot be depicted? 

If the divinity is shared with the Father and the Spirit, what prevents them from being painted?     

When we paint the icon of Christ, what are we depicting? 

The "maturity" of the Child expresses His eternal existence and His omniscience. He is not a generic helpless babe, but fully and completely God as well as Man. His depiction as a babe in swaddling clothes in a stone crib again looks to His coming passion death and burial. Icons are static and narrative, all at the same time.
To an extent, I cannot respond to this without knowing the answers to the questions above, because on one hand you are arguing that "maturity" is an indication of a fullness of divinity which, on the other hand, we only have a "small taste" of.

But without disagreeing with what you wrote, it doesn't really address my question.  Why does "particular time and place" make all the difference when it comes to the depiction of the Spirit as a dove, but doesn't seem to matter at all when it comes to depicting an age appropriate child in the arms of his mother, nursing from her breast, etc.?  Why does it suddenly become acceptable to depict a miniature thirty year old doing these things?  Surely that is not appropriate to the "particular time and place" depicted. 

And if Matthew, Mark, and John only say the Spirit descended like a dove at Christ's baptism, and Luke is the only one to specify that the Spirit descended in bodily form as a dove, none of these necessitate the painting of a white bird.  And yet that's exactly what we get, and it is legitimate except when it's not.  On what basis? 
 

mabsoota

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i agree with lbk's comments on this one.
icons are not pictures, they are stories.

but i thought nephi's suggestion was very funny.
i am sure he was not serious!
i think he was making the point that there are reasons why certain things are not portrayed in iconography.
(sorry, the bus to hell is cancelled due to lack of a driver...)
 

Anna.T

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Our priest said that the Father is not to be depicted in Eastern Orthodox canonical icons. The reason he gave is that He has not appeared to us. 

The only possible exception being the visitation to Abraham - and I often see them as angels. I'm not sure on that one.

Not wishing to argue. Is there a difference between Eastern Orthodox and perhaps Ethiopian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, etc.?
 

Christodoulostheou

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Ikonography is a lost art form. We have to do the best with what we have. Today's Ikons are in reality ,copies of
Italian Renaissance paintings.

and that's the truth. and yes , even  in mother russia.
 

LBK

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Christodoulostheou said:
Ikonography is a lost art form. We have to do the best with what we have. Today's Ikons are in reality ,copies of
Italian Renaissance paintings.

and that's the truth. and yes , even  in mother russia.
This is not true at all. Traditional iconography was almost lost by the beginning of the 20th century, but it has well and truly been revived. The naturalistic paintings are still around, and, in many cases, are being removed from churches and replaced with proper traditional and canonical iconography. As for "Mother Russia", good, traditional icons are being painted everywhere, not just since the fall of the Soviet system, but even before it.

Here's an example, the iconography of Mother Juliana of blessed memory, who painted a series of icons for the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra in the mid-20th century.

http://www.pravmir.ru/prepodobnyj-sergij-ikony-monaxini-iulianii-sokolovoj/

Scroll down to the fifth picture on the page, where a series of her work begins. These are no Italian Renaissance paintings, but icons of the highest level of skill, reverence and spiritual power.
 

kelly

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LBK said:
Christodoulostheou said:
Ikonography is a lost art form. We have to do the best with what we have. Today's Ikons are in reality ,copies of
Italian Renaissance paintings.

and that's the truth. and yes , even  in mother russia.
This is not true at all. Traditional iconography was almost lost by the beginning of the 20th century, but it has well and truly been revived. The naturalistic paintings are still around, and, in many cases, are being removed from churches and replaced with proper traditional and canonical iconography. As for "Mother Russia", good, traditional icons are being painted everywhere, not just since the fall of the Soviet system, but even before it.

Here's an example, the iconography of Mother Juliana of blessed memory, who painted a series of icons for the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra in the mid-20th century.

http://www.pravmir.ru/prepodobnyj-sergij-ikony-monaxini-iulianii-sokolovoj/

Scroll down to the fifth picture on the page, where a series of her work begins. These are no Italian Renaissance paintings, but icons of the highest level of skill, reverence and spiritual power.
Wow - I really, really like those.
 

LBK

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Anna.T said:
Our priest said that the Father is not to be depicted in Eastern Orthodox canonical icons. The reason he gave is that He has not appeared to us. 

The only possible exception being the visitation to Abraham - and I often see them as angels. I'm not sure on that one.
The Hospitality of Abraham, and the variant which does not include Abraham and Sarah, are indeed canonical. It should be remembered that, like the other manifestations of the Father and the Holy Spirit, that is what these angels represent. They are manifestations, not incarnations.

 

Christodoulostheou

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the rules for ikonography  haven't  been followed by anyone since the  crusaders  razed the Holy City. believe what you will.

I'm not  referring to what they look like to you but how they conform to the very exacting rules for this type of art form.
 

LBK

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kelly said:
LBK said:
Christodoulostheou said:
Ikonography is a lost art form. We have to do the best with what we have. Today's Ikons are in reality ,copies of
Italian Renaissance paintings.

and that's the truth. and yes , even  in mother russia.
This is not true at all. Traditional iconography was almost lost by the beginning of the 20th century, but it has well and truly been revived. The naturalistic paintings are still around, and, in many cases, are being removed from churches and replaced with proper traditional and canonical iconography. As for "Mother Russia", good, traditional icons are being painted everywhere, not just since the fall of the Soviet system, but even before it.

Here's an example, the iconography of Mother Juliana of blessed memory, who painted a series of icons for the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra in the mid-20th century.

http://www.pravmir.ru/prepodobnyj-sergij-ikony-monaxini-iulianii-sokolovoj/

Scroll down to the fifth picture on the page, where a series of her work begins. These are no Italian Renaissance paintings, but icons of the highest level of skill, reverence and spiritual power.
Wow - I really, really like those.
Another master (mistress?) iconographer of our times was Xenia Pokrovsky, who began painting icons in Russia in the 1960s, and emigrated to the US in 1991, where she painted countless icons, and taught many, until her death last year. Just as important as her mastery of the skill of painting, her sense of the spiritual was where it should be - the opposite of the new-agey mess that the Prosopon "school" espouses.

May her memory and her legacy be eternal.
 

Ansgar

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Christodoulostheou said:
the rules for ikonography  haven't  been followed by anyone since the   crusaders  razed the Holy City. believe what you will.

I'm not  referring to what they look like to you but how they conform to the very exacting rules for this type of art form.
Could you elaborate on what exactly these rules are? I must admit, I fail to see how modern iconography can in any way be compared to renaissance paintings.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Anna.T said:
Our priest said that the Father is not to be depicted in Eastern Orthodox canonical icons. The reason he gave is that He has not appeared to us. 

The only possible exception being the visitation to Abraham - and I often see them as angels. I'm not sure on that one.

Not wishing to argue. Is there a difference between Eastern Orthodox and perhaps Ethiopian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, etc.?
There are differences, certainly, though my personal assessment is that they are not substantial.  In any case, I don't think this particular topic is one of them, at least not yet. 
 

Christodoulostheou

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"Here's an example, the iconography of Mother Juliana of blessed memory, who painted a series of icons for the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra in the mid-20th century. "

unfortunately the ikons depicted do not adhere to the traditional ikonography which is very strict ,I admit, and for this reason do not exist .

true ikons do not depict the human form  showing movement.
They must be flat two dimensional only and abstract .

Ikons depicting Christ must be in portrait form or seated. and so on..
 

Ansgar

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Christodoulostheou said:
"Here's an example, the iconography of Mother Juliana of blessed memory, who painted a series of icons for the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra in the mid-20th century. "

unfortunately the ikons depicted do not adhere to the traditional ikonography which is very strict ,I admit, and for this reason do not exist .

true ikons do not depict the human form  showing movement.
They must be flat two dimensional only and abstract .

Ikons depicting Christ must be in portrait form or seated. and so on..
Show us an example, please.
 
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