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Offline antiderivative

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first icon
« on: June 07, 2008, 01:03:04 PM »
I'm quite sure many of you are familiar with the first icon painted by Luke, but does anyone know it's history and what happened to it?
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: first icon
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2008, 01:10:57 PM »
I'm quite sure many of you are familiar with the first icon painted by Luke, but does anyone know it's history and what happened to it?

Which one?  Many claim to be said icon, e.g. the Black Madonna of Poland, the Tikvin Mother of God, the icon at Syadnaya, etc.
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Offline antiderivative

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Re: first icon
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2008, 01:34:43 PM »
Which one?  Many claim to be said icon, e.g. the Black Madonna of Poland, the Tikvin Mother of God, the icon at Syadnaya, etc.

Honestly you seem to know more than I do. I'm wondering it there is any basic history of it.
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Offline A Sombra

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Re: first icon
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 06:38:08 AM »
St. Luke wrote the first icon, of the Most Holy Theotokos Directress or Hodigitria, mentioned in the Paraklesis to the Theotokos:

Speechless be the lips of impious ones,
Those who do not reverence
Your great icon, the sacred one
Which is called Directress,
And was depicted for us
By one of the apostles,
Luke the Evangelist.
—The Service of the Small Paraklesis (GOARCH)

Source
St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Apostle_Luke

Offline soufliotiki

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Re: first icon
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2009, 07:36:21 PM »
I have heard that the Virgin Mary of Kykkos is a strong candidate as the first icon authored by saint Luke. Some starting points as I dont have the energy to research out the links:

* http://www.imkykkou.com.cy/
* http://www.kykkos-museum.cy.net/
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kykkos_Monastery
 
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 07:47:41 PM by soufliotiki »
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Offline LBK

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Re: first icon
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2009, 07:52:26 PM »
Orthodox tradition is unclear as to which particular, or how many, icons St Luke painted of the Mother of God. Some sources say he painted three, representing the three main icon types (Odighitria/Directress, Of the Sign/Platytera, and Eleousa/Oumilenie/Tenderness). Other sources say he painted many more than these. It is impossible to say which ones St Luke painted himself, even if such ancient icons still existed, as iconographers do not (or, should not) sign their work; and, even within these three icon types, there are a multitude of variants.

It is safe to say that any actual icons painted by St Luke himself have long disappeared or been destroyed. The iconoclastic periods were quite thorough in eliminating a huge number of icons, and time and the elements accounts for the loss of many more.

The Kykkotissa is unquestionably no older than 13thC, and more likely closer to 16thC, given the artistic style, which has a heavy Cretan/Venetian school influence.
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Offline soufliotiki

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Re: first icon
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2009, 08:15:04 PM »
Thanks LBK. This parallels with the information from Monachos:

http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?t=4281
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: first icon
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2009, 08:26:12 PM »
Speechless be the lips of impious ones,
Those who do not reverence
Your great icon, the sacred one
Which is called Directress,
And was depicted for us
By one of the apostles,
Luke the Evangelist.
—The Service of the Small Paraklesis (GOARCH)

And do we have any way of knowing when this was written and added to the service books?

Offline Salpy

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Re: first icon
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2009, 09:10:59 PM »
There is an old Armenian tradition that St. Bartholomew brought an icon of the Mother of God to Armenia.  Below is an icon of St. Bartholomew holding it:



Offline soufliotiki

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Re: first icon
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 09:29:58 PM »
Oh! That is a lovely thing to share ... particulary cause I had never heard about that before ...

What a beautiful image/icon!
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Re: first icon
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 10:58:19 PM »
Speechless be the lips of impious ones,
Those who do not reverence
Your great icon, the sacred one
Which is called Directress,
And was depicted for us
By one of the apostles,
Luke the Evangelist.
—The Service of the Small Paraklesis (GOARCH)

And do we have any way of knowing when this was written and added to the service books?

The small supplicatory canon is attributed to Theosteriktos the Monk, from the 9th century.  I'm sure there's further information on the origin of this service, but it's probably not available in English. 
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: first icon
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2009, 04:07:32 PM »
The small supplicatory canon is attributed to Theosteriktos the Monk, from the 9th century.  I'm sure there's further information on the origin of this service, but it's probably not available in English.

So is the 9th century as far back as these stories, that tell of St. Luke as an iconographer, can be traced?

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Re: first icon
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2009, 09:24:23 PM »
Orthodox tradition is unclear as to which particular, or how many, icons St Luke painted of the Mother of God. Some sources say he painted three, representing the three main icon types (Odighitria/Directress, Of the Sign/Platytera, and Eleousa/Oumilenie/Tenderness). Other sources say he painted many more than these. It is impossible to say which ones St Luke painted himself, even if such ancient icons still existed, as iconographers do not (or, should not) sign their work; and, even within these three icon types, there are a multitude of variants.

It is safe to say that any actual icons painted by St Luke himself have long disappeared or been destroyed. The iconoclastic periods were quite thorough in eliminating a huge number of icons, and time and the elements accounts for the loss of many more.

The Kykkotissa is unquestionably no older than 13thC, and more likely closer to 16thC, given the artistic style, which has a heavy Cretan/Venetian school influence.

What's your position, then, on the dating of the wax icon at the Monastery of the Great Cave (Mega Spelaio) in Greece, also attributed to St. Luke?  Authentically his?  As early, or earlier than the others?
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Offline antiderivative

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Re: first icon
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2009, 09:35:28 PM »
Quote
What's your position, then, on the dating of the wax icon at the Monastery of the Great Cave (Mega Spelaio) in Greece, also attributed to St. Luke?  Authentically his?  As early, or earlier than the others?

Wow, I did some research on this, but there is unfortunately not a lot of information about it online. I can't even find a picture of it.

Is it for certain the icon dates back to at least when the monastery was founded (362)?
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Offline serb1389

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Re: first icon
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2009, 09:44:42 PM »
When I went to the monastery of Panagia Soumela north of Thessaloniki they told us that the icon there is one of the 4 originals done by St. Luke.  I have provided several images from our trip there...sorry that they are not the best quality...

p.s.  I've always had a problem actually embedding pictures into my posts.  Can anyone help me do this? 

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« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 09:47:51 PM by serb1389 »

Offline antiderivative

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Re: first icon
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2009, 10:01:13 PM »
thankyou, you're probably the first to put this icon on the internet!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 10:03:04 PM by antiderivative »
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Offline serb1389

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Re: first icon
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2009, 10:04:35 PM »
thankyou, you're probably the first to put this icon on the internet!

I have several more shots of it, but people are venerating and etc. so i'm not sure if you want them...PM me if you are interested. 

Offline LBK

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Re: first icon
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2009, 11:45:45 PM »
When I went to the monastery of Panagia Soumela north of Thessaloniki they told us that the icon there is one of the 4 originals done by St. Luke.  I have provided several images from our trip there...sorry that they are not the best quality...

If the Panaghia Soumeliotissa was indeed painted by St Luke himself, then all the other Odighitria icons claimed to have been painted by the saint could not have been painted by him. There are also claims that the Vladimirskaya (Mother of God of Vladimir) icon, perhaps the most famous of all icons of the Virgin, was also by the hand of St Luke, which history shows us, is clearly not the case.

Where does this leave us? It would be safer to say that St Luke indeed painted four icons of the Mother of God, one of each of the main compositional types, and that these icons of his served as models and prototypes for all other icons that have followed. This in no way diminishes the sanctity of any of the icons which were modelled on St Luke's work.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 11:47:13 PM by LBK »
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Offline serb1389

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Re: first icon
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2009, 11:51:08 PM »
When I went to the monastery of Panagia Soumela north of Thessaloniki they told us that the icon there is one of the 4 originals done by St. Luke.  I have provided several images from our trip there...sorry that they are not the best quality...

If the Panaghia Soumeliotissa was indeed painted by St Luke himself, then all the other Odighitria icons claimed to have been painted by the saint could not have been painted by him. There are also claims that the Vladimirskaya (Mother of God of Vladimir) icon, perhaps the most famous of all icons of the Virgin, was also by the hand of St Luke, which history shows us, is clearly not the case.

Where does this leave us? It would be safer to say that St Luke indeed painted four icons of the Mother of God, one of each of the main compositional types, and that these icons of his served as models and prototypes for all other icons that have followed. This in no way diminishes the sanctity of any of the icons which were modelled on St Luke's work.

Sorry I'm just not that familiar with the history.  Can you tell me why and how the other icons are connected to Panaghia Soumeliotisa?  Thanks! (p.s.  all I heard was from the monastery itself so...)

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: first icon
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2009, 11:57:07 PM »
Where does this leave us? It would be safer to say that St Luke indeed painted four icons of the Mother of God, one of each of the main compositional types, and that these icons of his served as models and prototypes for all other icons that have followed. This in no way diminishes the sanctity of any of the icons which were modelled on St Luke's work.

My impression is that St. Luke didn't paint any icons.  It's just a later legend to validate iconography.  Anyone can feel free to prove me wrong; I welcome it.

Offline LBK

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Re: first icon
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2009, 12:03:23 AM »
My impression is that St. Luke didn't paint any icons.  It's just a later legend to validate iconography. 

What's more important, Alveus, is that the existence and necessity of iconography in Orthodoxy does not need to be validated by whether or not St Luke painted any icons. The first icon ever produced was by Christ Himself, in the form of the Mandylion, also known as Not Made By Hands.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: first icon
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2009, 12:18:25 AM »
What's more important, Alveus, is that the existence and necessity of iconography in Orthodoxy does not need to be validated by whether or not St Luke painted any icons. The first icon ever produced was by Christ Himself, in the form of the Mandylion, also known as Not Made By Hands.

Nothing about that story is satisfactory to a critical mind.  A king writing a letter to the LORD, and the LORD sending him a drawing of Himself?  This account was not written down until over 300 years after Christ's time on earth.  The original is lost anyway, but even if it were not, it still smacks of pure legend.

But it does prove that iconography was no big deal in the 4th century, which is something worth noting.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 12:19:17 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

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Re: first icon
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2009, 01:24:27 AM »
What's more important, Alveus, is that the existence and necessity of iconography in Orthodoxy does not need to be validated by whether or not St Luke painted any icons. The first icon ever produced was by Christ Himself, in the form of the Mandylion, also known as Not Made By Hands.

Nothing about that story is satisfactory to a critical mind.  A king writing a letter to the LORD, and the LORD sending him a drawing of Himself?  This account was not written down until over 300 years after Christ's time on earth.  The original is lost anyway, but even if it were not, it still smacks of pure legend.
Actually, the tradition I've heard is that what the King Abgar was sent as being an icon of Jesus was not a drawing of the Lord but a folded-up cloth that had the imprint of His face on it.  I've heard it said that this may have even been His burial shroud, indicating that it was most likely one of His disciples who sent the image to King Abgar after Jesus had ascended back to the heavens.
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Offline LBK

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Re: first icon
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2009, 05:50:46 AM »
Nothing about that story is satisfactory to a critical mind.  A king writing a letter to the LORD, and the LORD sending him a drawing of Himself?  This account was not written down until over 300 years after Christ's time on earth.  The original is lost anyway, but even if it were not, it still smacks of pure legend.

But it does prove that iconography was no big deal in the 4th century, which is something worth noting.

Orthodoxy does not subscribe to scholasticism or sola scriptura, Alveus. You forget that ancient peoples and cultures relied on strong oral traditions, perhaps more so than the written word. Did the true Christian faith only begin when the Nicene Creed was written down?

"No big deal"? What of the Christian catacomb art, which has been preserved to this day? Even St John of Damascus, in his seminal treatise on iconography, quotes from a number of pre-4th century saints to back his arguments. Here are some of St John's references, from but one of these earthly saints (the language is a bit archaic, but it's not that difficult to understand):

St Dionysius, Bishop of Athens, from his letter to St John the Apostle and Evangelist:

Sensory (visible, perceptible) images do indeed show forth invisible things.

from his Homily on the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy:

The substances and orders to which we have already alluded with reverence, are spirits, and they are set forth in spiritual and immaterial array. We can see it when brought down to our medium, symbolised in various forms, by which we are led up to the mental contemplation of God and divine goodness. Spirits think of Him as spirits according to their nature, but we are led as far as may be by sensory images to the divine contemplation.

From his Letter to Bishop Titus:

Instead of attaching the common conception to images, we should look upon what they symbolise, and not despise the divine mark and character which they portray, as sensible images of mysterious and heavenly visions.

St John's commentary: Mark that he cautions us not to despise sacred images.     

St Dionysius, on the "Ecclesiastical Hierarchy":

Now, if the substances (ousiai) and orders above us, of which we have already made reverent mention, are without bodies, their hierarchy is intellectual and above sense. We supply by the variety of sensible symbols the visible order, which is according to our own measure. Those sensible symbols lead us naturally to intellectual conception, to God and His divine attributes. Spiritual minds form their own spiritual conceptions, but we are led to the divine vision by sensible images.

Commentary.-If, then, it be rational that we are led to the divine vision by sensible images, and if Divine Providence mercifully clothes in form and image that which is without either for our benefit, what is there unseemly about imaging, according to our capacity, Him who graciously disguised Himself for us in shape and form? A tradition has come down to us that Angaros, King of Edessa, was drawn vehemently to divine love by hearing of our Lord, and that he sent envoys to ask for His likeness. If this were refused, they were ordered to have a likeness painted. Then He, who is all-knowing and all-powerful, is said to have taken a strip of cloth, and pressing it to His face, to have left His likeness upon the cloth, which it retains to this day.

A look through St John's little book will uncover quite a few references to early saints and fathers.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 05:53:43 AM by LBK »
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Offline serb1389

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Re: first icon
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2009, 07:57:23 AM »
What's more important, Alveus, is that the existence and necessity of iconography in Orthodoxy does not need to be validated by whether or not St Luke painted any icons. The first icon ever produced was by Christ Himself, in the form of the Mandylion, also known as Not Made By Hands.

Nothing about that story is satisfactory to a critical mind.  A king writing a letter to the LORD, and the LORD sending him a drawing of Himself?  This account was not written down until over 300 years after Christ's time on earth.  The original is lost anyway, but even if it were not, it still smacks of pure legend.

But it does prove that iconography was no big deal in the 4th century, which is something worth noting.

What about there being a feast day for this Icon?  And even a feast day for the translation of the holy Mandia from one place to the other?  You think that it was put in the Menaion because of folk lore?  It had to have existed at one point.  What did it look like, was it legitimate, etc. we don't know, but SOMETHING existed, and the tradition of its feast day is fairly logical proof...

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Re: first icon
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2009, 08:44:34 AM »
It's both a Western

St Luke paints the Madonna and the child
Rogier Van Der Weyden


St Luke paints the Madonna and the child
Jan Gossaert

and an Eastern tradition

that st Luke is the first Iconographer of the Theotokos. According to this tradition, this first icon was made of wax and mastic. The key therefore to attribute Icons depicting the Theotokos to the Apostle Luke, is for them to have been made of wax. AFAIK the Panaghia Soumela, the Prousiotissa and the Axion Esti (Protaton, Mount Athos), are made of wax.
IIRC there's a beautiful Coptic (?), an Oriental in general tradition, that when the Theotokos saw this first Icon she said:
"May the grace of Him that is born of me be with it through me."
Ἦχος Πρῶτος

Τέχνη μελουργός, σούς ἀγασθεῖσα κρότους
Πρώτην νέμει σοὶ τάξιν, ὦ τῆς ἀξίας
Ἦχος ὁ πρῶτος μουσική κληθείς τέχνη
Πρῶτος παρ'ἡμῶν εὐλογείσθω τοῖς λόγοις.
Τὰ πρῶτα πρῶτε τῶν καλῶν λαχῶν φέρεις
Πρωτεῖα νίκης πανταχοῦ πάντων ἔχεις.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: first icon
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2009, 03:59:07 PM »
"No big deal"? What of the Christian catacomb art, which has been preserved to this day?

Sorry, I should have been more clear.  I was just making a passive comment that there was no general opposition to iconography during that period of time.  Meaning "no big deal" in the sense that there was no outrage or iconoclasm.

Offline Jake

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Re: first icon
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2009, 04:14:59 PM »
The tradition of St. Luke writing the first icon is found even in the prayer that iconographers recite before starting their icons:


A Prayer Recited Before the Writing of an Icon

O Divine Lord of all that exists,
You have illumined the Apostle and Evangelist Luke
with your Holy Spirit,
thereby enabling him to represent your most Holy Mother,
the one who held you in her arms and said:
“The grace of Him who has been born of me
is spread throughout the World.”

Enlighten and direct my soul. my heart and my spirit.
Guide the hands of your unworthy servant
so that I may worthily and perfectly portray your icon,
that of your Mother and all the saints,
for the glory, joy and adornment of your Holy Church.

Forgive my sins and the sins of those who venerate these icons
and who, bowing devoutly before them,
give homage to those they represent.
Protect them from all evil and instruct them in good counsel.

This I ask through the intercession of your most Holy Mother,
the Apostle Luke and all the saints.

Amen.

And the tradition with St. Luke is also found in the liturgics of the Sunday of Orthodoxy and the Feast of the Icon Made Not by Human Hands.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: first icon
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2009, 04:19:07 PM »
OK, fine.  St. Luke did write icons.  I'll just go with what the Church says, because I have no way to verify otherwise.  But a lot of this does raise eyebrows, like the Theotokos being a Jewish "temple virgin."  Are we really supposed to just shut our brains off with this stuff?

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Re: first icon
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2009, 06:34:32 PM »
OK, fine.  St. Luke did write icons.  I'll just go with what the Church says, because I have no way to verify otherwise.  But a lot of this does raise eyebrows, like the Theotokos being a Jewish "temple virgin."  Are we really supposed to just shut our brains off with this stuff?

We might have to "shut our brains off" with a whole lot of stuff which define Orthodoxy, such as the ever-virginity of the Mother of God, the incarnation of God, and the resurrection of the crucified Christ.
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Offline Orest

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Re: first icon
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2009, 07:19:53 PM »
We see with the eyes of faith.

Offline LBK

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Re: first icon
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2009, 07:21:13 PM »
We see with the eyes of faith.

Exactly my point.  :)
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: first icon
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2009, 08:57:45 PM »
We see with the eyes of faith.

And we apply reason and historical context when it is convenient, for example in anti-Islamic propaganda.