Early Christian Artists used their abilities to depict the story of Jesus Christ and elevate the viewer to a state of mystery. The first Byzantine iconographers formatted mysterious visual prayer: Jesus Christ illustrated the unseen Word made Flesh. Portraying the face of humanity of Christ through an visual icon prayer, an art form created a sacramental image to contemplate who we are. Narrative style painted icons were historical illustrations of Jesus Christ’s signs and miracles. It is the visual icon of one specific spiritual person where the icon painter has illustrated the mysterious unseen word made flesh in a single visual icon prayer.
Visual Icon Prayer – Christ is the Word made Flesh
Christianity professes God designed Christ for humankind to call us back to the beginning, to live in the glory for why we were created. Christ is a new man and a transcendental manifestation made for us. In this icon writing, the icon artist shows us his divine face imprinted on a cloth. If you really think about it, the concept of viewing a spiritual face looking back at you from a cloth is strange and supernatural.
When an iconography artist creates sacred images of the divine story, we must keep in mind the audience, who they are and what spiritual understanding they have. My painted icon, Not Made by Human Hands, is doctrine. God’s image is the human face. If instead, I as the icon painter, had painted a head floating on a cloth, how would the viewer see this. Like something strange and otherworldly, right? Not something or someone you can easily connect with as you can with the face of Jesus in this visual icon prayer.
Every time I paint this image, I am struck by the idea and the random thought that when we wipe our own face on a cloth or a towel, a part of us remains on the cloth as unseen energy, perhaps, then when we see Jesus Christ in an artist’s visual icon prayer, we can better understand the miracle, the word made flesh in Jesus Christ. They transfer his amazing spirit onto a mere cloth, a monumental concept for contemplation and visual prayer.
Can you think of anything being made from nothing as in this visual icon prayer?
The Word made flesh is making something visible where there is nothing! Visually speaking, it is in the artist’s ability to create visual icons from the written word. Scientists are finding if they take everything out of a volume of space, everything and leave it void when they return, there is something there. This coming into being did not occur just once. In the beginning was God and God was the word. John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1.
Humanity underestimates the magnitude of what it is to create, to think, to manifest, to transfigure, to redeem, and to empower. In this ancient Byzantine icon image, the artist created a visual icon prayer. Here as I painted this icon, I could see an archetype of mystery of myself as a painter, as well as the subject matter of jesus’s face, something left for humanity to ponder. Jesus Christ leaves his image on the cloth. We also leave our image everywhere, in a multitude of ways. His teachings help us understand we are transitional beings, made visible.
Mysterious Visual icon Prayer, an Icon of Jesus Christ
Through contemplation and gazing at an image, like a visual icon prayer, you go beyond what is see into the realm of knosis. When art transitions into sacred art, it is where the window to the divine becomes active and participatory. We see things differently, in their entirety, without division or judgment. Icon paintings are designed and created to stimulate prayer, leading the viewer to a deeper knowing of ourselves and renewed.
Mary Jane Miller is a self-taught Byzantine style visual icon prayer iconographer with over 28 years of experience living in Mexico. Her collection of sacred art is contemporary, unique, and unorthodox at times. She teaches 4 courses annually, 5 day immersion workshops throughout the US and Mexico. website http://sacrediconretreat.com/ FACEBOOK Conversations about prayer and iconography.