Author Topic: Strange icons  (Read 70773 times)

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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #495 on: May 03, 2014, 04:57:28 PM »
What's with all the heads though? I would have guessed there'd be a snake, or maybe a dragon, but why a hydra?  :)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 04:57:43 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Luka

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #496 on: May 03, 2014, 05:00:34 PM »
Apparently it's a vision from Revelation 12 - Dragon waiting to devour the Child that is to be born of the Woman clothed in the Sun with a wreath-crown of twelve stars.

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #497 on: May 03, 2014, 05:07:51 PM »
What is going on in this icon?



Revelation? I can't look it up right now, but isn't there a woman with 12 stars (crowning her head?) who is about to give birth, and the dragon crouches before her to devour her child?
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #498 on: May 03, 2014, 05:08:35 PM »
Ahh, thanks!

Offline Anna.T

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #499 on: May 03, 2014, 05:09:23 PM »
What is going on in this icon?



Revelation? I can't look it up right now, but isn't there a woman with 12 stars (crowning her head?) who is about to give birth, and the dragon crouches before her to devour her child?

Oops, sorry, that's twice now I replied without seeing the next page of posts. My apologies.
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Offline Regnare

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #500 on: May 06, 2014, 12:25:18 AM »
What is going on in this icon?


Revelation 12:1-4. "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born."

This is probably done by a Catholic, because I've never heard an Orthodox writer connect the Theotokos to the Woman Clothed With The Sun.

Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #501 on: May 06, 2014, 12:43:12 AM »
What is going on in this icon?


Revelation 12:1-4. "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born."

This is probably done by a Catholic,
because I've never heard an Orthodox writer connect the Theotokos to the Woman Clothed With The Sun.

It was painted by a Roman Catholic. His name is Fr William Hart McNichols, and he is a Jesuit priest. He is also a protege of the notorious Robert Lentz, a Franciscan friar. Between the two of them, they have produced a great many paintings which resemble icons, but are anything but - many of these do not even conform to Roman Catholic teaching, let alone Orthodox. At best, they are misguided; at their worst, they are blasphemous and heretical.

Unfortunately, the fact that so much of their work is tainted, even that which passes muster should be avoided.

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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #502 on: May 30, 2014, 01:34:14 PM »


I've never see one like this.  Christ is a teenager/young man.

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Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #503 on: May 30, 2014, 08:45:28 PM »


I've never see one like this.  Christ is a teenager/young man.



This is an adaptation of the Holy Trinity icon derived from the icon of the Hospitality of Abraham, but the three angels are replaced by the Mother of God, St Joseph the Betrothed, and the young Christ. The “Holy Family” idea is foreign enough to Orthodox tradition, but its intrusion into the well-established iconography of the Holy Trinity is extremely problematic, to say the least. It presents a very confused conflation of the Holy Trinity and the three persons depicted here.

It is a great shame that such an image, expressing ideas contrary to what the Orthodox Church teaches, was painted by someone who is Orthodox, and who has been painting icons for a generation. This isn't the honest mistake of a novice.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #504 on: May 30, 2014, 08:54:26 PM »

Thanks for the clarification.  That's what I thought, also.

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Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #505 on: May 30, 2014, 09:00:04 PM »

Thanks for the clarification.  That's what I thought, also.


 :)

Really, this image belongs in the "Schlock Icons" thread. Yet another example of a work which is skilfully painted, but risks causing spiritual confusion and damage to the unsuspecting.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #506 on: May 30, 2014, 09:09:55 PM »

Yeah...I was going to post it there, but, I couldn't post an icon with Christ and the Theotokos depicted so nicely, in a "Schlock" category.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #507 on: May 30, 2014, 09:13:46 PM »

Yeah...I was going to post it there, but, I couldn't post an icon with Christ and the Theotokos depicted so nicely, in a "Schlock" category.


Ah, there's the rub. The "prettiness" of this image is what makes it so subversive. That's why it deserves to be seen as schlock.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #508 on: May 30, 2014, 09:33:23 PM »
It is a great shame that such an image, expressing ideas contrary to what the Orthodox Church teaches, was painted by someone who is Orthodox, and who has been painting icons for a generation. This isn't the honest mistake of a novice.

If it was painted by a veteran Orthodox iconographer who should know better, why wouldn't s/he know better and do better?  Or is there more going on here? 
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Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #509 on: May 30, 2014, 09:50:04 PM »
It is a great shame that such an image, expressing ideas contrary to what the Orthodox Church teaches, was painted by someone who is Orthodox, and who has been painting icons for a generation. This isn't the honest mistake of a novice.

If it was painted by a veteran Orthodox iconographer who should know better, why wouldn't s/he know better and do better?  Or is there more going on here? 

This person is not the only Orthodox painting unsatisfactory images. Most of his work is fine, but the continued presence of this and at least one other of his works in Orthodox bookstores and on his website is cause for concern. If painting these images was indeed an honest mistake, then they should be withdrawn from circulation. If these works were painted for a non-Orthodox patron, then they should be clearly designated as such, and not disseminated as Orthodox icons. There comes a point in an iconographer's life where he must draw the line and decline commissions where the subject matter is contrary to Orthodox teaching, whether the prospective patron is Orthodox or not.

There are plenty of others, including the Andreyevs of the Prosopon School, and Fr Stamatios Skliris, a Greek Orthodox priest. These hold themselves out to be authorities on iconography, yet a good part of their work is unfit for veneration, to put it mildly. The Schlock Icons thread has ample evidence of this.

As to why such "knowledgeable" people continue to paint unsatisfactory images, it doesn't take much thought to come up with reasons why.  :P

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #510 on: July 11, 2014, 07:21:59 AM »
Last days when I was in Serbia I bought a small paper icon almost identical with this one:


See what (actually, who) is in the place of traditional Cosmos ;)
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #511 on: July 11, 2014, 07:28:54 AM »
International folks?  Odd.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #512 on: July 11, 2014, 09:24:32 AM »
Last days when I was in Serbia I bought a small paper icon almost identical with this one:


See what (actually, who) is in the place of traditional Cosmos ;)

This isn't just strange, it's schlock. Another "creative" tweak to an icon whose form and purpose was established many centuries ago. What a waste of time, effort, paint and leaf.  :P >:( >:(
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Offline Anna.T

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #513 on: July 11, 2014, 10:30:57 AM »
The “Holy Family” idea is foreign enough to Orthodox tradition,

I almost missed this, but may I ask about it?

Why is it that the "Holy Family" idea is not acceptable? Is it only that Christ is older, or are the three pictured with the infant Christ also a problem?

(It occurs to me that St. Joseph is essentially a provider/protector and not a "father" in the true sense - is that the reason?)

I may be sorry I asked. I have a fair number of small depictions that I use as Christmas decorations, but I love them very much. (One is carved from Olive wood supposedly from Israel and features the Holy Family within the Star of Bethlehem - that's my favorite.) And I just unpacked a statuette of the Exodus (Holy Family plus the donkey) that I've had packed for a few years (fearing the cats would break it as I had nowhere safe to put it). I would not like to have to give them all up, but if they are problematic I would like to know?

Thank you.
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #514 on: July 11, 2014, 10:33:13 AM »
Last days when I was in Serbia I bought a small paper icon almost identical with this one:


See what (actually, who) is in the place of traditional Cosmos ;)

This isn't just strange, it's schlock. Another "creative" tweak to an icon whose form and purpose was established many centuries ago. What a waste of time, effort, paint and leaf.  :P >:( >:(

You can imagine my facet when I looked at this icon longer (I'd bought it because it was only icon that had been missing in my collection of the 12 great feasts, and from distance I'd seen it's Pentecost, and the purpose had been to have just an icon of it, nothing so special or unique) ;) However, I don't consider it so schlock as some presented in another thread. Surely, the symbolism of the original icon is deeper, but this one at least doesn't promote some heretical stuff (at least it seems to me so)
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #515 on: July 12, 2014, 07:17:25 PM »
The “Holy Family” idea is foreign enough to Orthodox tradition,

I almost missed this, but may I ask about it?

Why is it that the "Holy Family" idea is not acceptable? Is it only that Christ is older, or are the three pictured with the infant Christ also a problem?

(It occurs to me that St. Joseph is essentially a provider/protector and not a "father" in the true sense - is that the reason?)

I may be sorry I asked. I have a fair number of small depictions that I use as Christmas decorations, but I love them very much. (One is carved from Olive wood supposedly from Israel and features the Holy Family within the Star of Bethlehem - that's my favorite.) And I just unpacked a statuette of the Exodus (Holy Family plus the donkey) that I've had packed for a few years (fearing the cats would break it as I had nowhere safe to put it). I would not like to have to give them all up, but if they are problematic I would like to know?

Thank you.

This may or may not be 'The Answer'

however....you say they are decorations.  I would say that is just fine, despite the idea that the Holy Family idea is not part of Tradition. Clearly the three people depicted in your decorations WERE in the same places.....logically they were, so depicting a Biblical event is not some no-no.

But venerating these as icons...no.


Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #516 on: July 12, 2014, 07:26:55 PM »
The “Holy Family” idea is foreign enough to Orthodox tradition,

I almost missed this, but may I ask about it?

Why is it that the "Holy Family" idea is not acceptable? Is it only that Christ is older, or are the three pictured with the infant Christ also a problem?

(It occurs to me that St. Joseph is essentially a provider/protector and not a "father" in the true sense - is that the reason?)

I may be sorry I asked. I have a fair number of small depictions that I use as Christmas decorations, but I love them very much. (One is carved from Olive wood supposedly from Israel and features the Holy Family within the Star of Bethlehem - that's my favorite.) And I just unpacked a statuette of the Exodus (Holy Family plus the donkey) that I've had packed for a few years (fearing the cats would break it as I had nowhere safe to put it). I would not like to have to give them all up, but if they are problematic I would like to know?

Thank you.

Anna, please PM me on this.  :)
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Offline kelly

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #517 on: July 12, 2014, 09:40:06 PM »
St. Joseph is so underappreciated in Orthodoxy. Makes me sad.
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Offline Anna.T

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #518 on: July 12, 2014, 10:51:49 PM »
The “Holy Family” idea is foreign enough to Orthodox tradition,

I almost missed this, but may I ask about it?

Why is it that the "Holy Family" idea is not acceptable? Is it only that Christ is older, or are the three pictured with the infant Christ also a problem?

(It occurs to me that St. Joseph is essentially a provider/protector and not a "father" in the true sense - is that the reason?)

I may be sorry I asked. I have a fair number of small depictions that I use as Christmas decorations, but I love them very much. (One is carved from Olive wood supposedly from Israel and features the Holy Family within the Star of Bethlehem - that's my favorite.) And I just unpacked a statuette of the Exodus (Holy Family plus the donkey) that I've had packed for a few years (fearing the cats would break it as I had nowhere safe to put it). I would not like to have to give them all up, but if they are problematic I would like to know?

Thank you.

This may or may not be 'The Answer'

however....you say they are decorations.  I would say that is just fine, despite the idea that the Holy Family idea is not part of Tradition. Clearly the three people depicted in your decorations WERE in the same places.....logically they were, so depicting a Biblical event is not some no-no.

But venerating these as icons...no.



Thanks Denise. :)

Since the whole idea of icons is new to me since Christmas was packed away ... But anyway, I would never "venerate" them. I have a statuette of Christ as a shepherd on my bookshelf too, but yes, the idea of venerating Christian decorations, pretty much rubs hard against the old Protestant mindset. I look at them and think about what they represent sometimes? But I do that with various kinds of art. :)

Thank you for the reply. :)
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #519 on: July 12, 2014, 11:16:57 PM »
St. Joseph is so underappreciated in Orthodoxy. Makes me sad.

+1

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #520 on: July 13, 2014, 05:51:26 AM »
in coptic tradition, we have many old icons of the 'flight to egypt' with saint mary, saint joseph and our Lord Jesus.
for example here:
http://www.juancole.com/2013/12/coptic-artwork-picture.html

is this ok from the EO iconography point of view?

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #521 on: July 13, 2014, 06:01:23 AM »

This one, no.


This one's good.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #522 on: July 13, 2014, 02:23:33 PM »
St. Joseph is so underappreciated in Orthodoxy. Makes me sad.

Good point, Kelly. He's very meaningful to me, as an older man with a rather-unexpected family, and I often ask him to pray for me.
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #523 on: July 13, 2014, 03:10:04 PM »
St. Joseph is so underappreciated in Orthodoxy. Makes me sad.

Good point, Kelly. He's very meaningful to me, as an older man with a rather-unexpected family, and I often ask him to pray for me.

He was stepfather to God Incarnate - that's a huge deal.
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #524 on: July 13, 2014, 03:17:07 PM »
And his response to the high calling was one of great patience and self-sacrifice unusual among family men. Something exemplary, that should be often put before us (I edited to add).
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 03:18:26 PM by Porter ODoran »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #525 on: July 13, 2014, 07:48:07 PM »
in coptic tradition, we have many old icons of the 'flight to egypt' with saint mary, saint joseph and our Lord Jesus.
for example here:
http://www.juancole.com/2013/12/coptic-artwork-picture.html

is this ok from the EO iconography point of view?

Nothing wrong with it at all. A lovely icon, Mabsoota!
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Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #526 on: July 13, 2014, 07:53:26 PM »

This one, no.


This one's good.

Precisely.  :)

For those who feel St Joseph is given short shrift by the Orthodox, this is not the case. He is present in icons of the Nativity and the Meeting of the Lord, which are present in every Orthodox church in the world. Many churches also feature the Flight into Egypt, and the first Sunday after the Nativity is dedicated to him, along with King David and St James the Brother of the Lord.

The highly visible western veneration of St Joseph dates only to about the 16th century, through the efforts of St Theresa of Avila.
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Offline kelly

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #527 on: July 13, 2014, 08:13:38 PM »
I guess I just don't get why there can't be icons of St. Joseph as an individual as opposed to being  a tiny character in two festal icons. Sts. Joachim and Anna get more attention than poor St. Joseph and we know a lot more about Joseph than we do about them.
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Offline Father H

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #528 on: July 13, 2014, 08:31:01 PM »
in coptic tradition, we have many old icons of the 'flight to egypt' with saint mary, saint joseph and our Lord Jesus.
for example here:
http://www.juancole.com/2013/12/coptic-artwork-picture.html

is this ok from the EO iconography point of view?

Of course!

Offline LBK

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #529 on: July 14, 2014, 02:59:11 AM »
I guess I just don't get why there can't be icons of St. Joseph as an individual as opposed to being  a tiny character in two festal icons. Sts. Joachim and Anna get more attention than poor St. Joseph and we know a lot more about Joseph than we do about them.

There are indeed proper, canonical icons of St Joseph. He may be holding a scroll bearing the incarnational prophecy of of Isaiah 7:14, and/or a pair of turtle-doves (the sacrificial offering he brought to the Temple 40 days after Christ's birth), and/or a staff which has sprouted, reflecting the means by which he was chosen to be the betrothed of young Virgin.

What he should not be doing is holding the Christ-child, in the manner of icons of the Mother of God. This is a major theological and iconographic error.

Yet again, I offer to email to anyone who is interested an article on the iconography of St Joseph, from the liturgical, historical and doctrinal tradition of the Church.  :)
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #530 on: July 14, 2014, 03:08:48 AM »
Yes I would like to see that LBK! My e-mail address is in my profile. I also want to get one of the icons you describe.
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #531 on: July 14, 2014, 10:10:11 AM »
A good one


A bad one

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #532 on: July 14, 2014, 10:18:00 AM »
Oh, yes indeed.

The second one is by the Jesuit priest and Robert Lentz protégé , William Hart McNichols.

Ugh.  :P :P
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #533 on: July 14, 2014, 10:53:56 AM »
A good one


A bad one



Wow, I don't know much and that makes a VERY distinct comparison for me! On a number of points!

I have to wonder WHY someone would paint something like the second one? (Just a rhetorical - not actual - question.)
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #534 on: July 14, 2014, 12:33:56 PM »
The thrust of the two could not be more different. In the first, he's a patient servant standing to the side of events, spending his old age in self-sacrifice. In the second, he usurps all the rights and beauties of the Theotokos.
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #535 on: July 14, 2014, 07:06:52 PM »
Quote
I have to wonder WHY someone would paint something like the second one? (Just a rhetorical - not actual - question.)

In the case of this particular artist and his mentor, it is pride that he knows better than iconographic tradition, not because of honest ignorance.  :P
« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 07:07:11 PM by LBK »
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #536 on: July 14, 2014, 07:10:57 PM »
In the second, he usurps all the rights and beauties of the Theotokos.
Even worse, I'm seeing shades of father, son, and holy spirit. (lack of capitalization intended)

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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #537 on: July 14, 2014, 07:33:09 PM »
In the second, he usurps all the rights and beauties of the Theotokos.
Even worse, I'm seeing shades of father, son, and holy spirit. (lack of capitalization intended)

Quite right. The artist has appropriated an existing uncanonical composition, known as Otechestvo (Paternity), and further compounded the heresy:



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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #538 on: July 14, 2014, 10:53:17 PM »
In the second, he usurps all the rights and beauties of the Theotokos.
Even worse, I'm seeing shades of father, son, and holy spirit. (lack of capitalization intended)

Wow I did not catch that. A natural step to take if you doubt Christ's birth of a virgin, however.
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Re: Strange icons
« Reply #539 on: July 14, 2014, 10:56:59 PM »
In the second, he usurps all the rights and beauties of the Theotokos.
Even worse, I'm seeing shades of father, son, and holy spirit. (lack of capitalization intended)

Quite right. The artist has appropriated an existing uncanonical composition, known as Otechestvo (Paternity), and further compounded the heresy:





Wow.  I had not seen the Otechestvo, but yes that is disturbing on SO many levels.

Who is the figure in the lower right of the Otechestvo? I feel like I shouldn't even be asking, but I would like to know?
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Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.