Byzantine Icons experienced a great revival in the 20th century, combined efforts of both the East and West. The Byzantine Revival began around 1930 in Greece and experienced popularity in the late 1980s when communism collapsed in Eastern Europe. Although it is a beautiful art form, and has experienced a great revival, many people are still unfamiliar with Byzantine Icons. What is Iconography and Sacred art is a good question.
Definition of iconography
It can be thought of as traditional or conventional images or symbols associated with religious or legendary biblical subjects. The art form is a pictorial representation relating to illustrating a spiritual subject. The work of art, imagery, or symbolism is done by an iconographer / artist. The origins of iconography date back to the Byzantine era.
Byzantine Iconography is a sacred art form of painting. The style include frescoes, icons on board, and mosaics specializing in images of Mother Mary, our Savior Jesus Christ, and other saints. They are said to be Byzantine Icons because they were created in the Byzantine Empire and were a large part of the Orthodox Church. These Icons are best known because of their vivid colors, gold backgrounds, and because of the religious importance of the persons depicted.
In Byzantine icons every aspect of the icon is symbolic. For instance, in many iconic paintings the ears of Christ are large, (to hear God ). The mouth small (to reserve silence to contemplate). Trees and landscapes are abstract ( to highlight our spiritual life is not of this physical plane). This is meant to symbolize the great capacity for the viewer to contemplate Christ’s invisible presence. The images inspire listening to the wisdom with which he spoke.
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