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Author Topic: Orthodox icons vs. RC paintings.....Theotokos's vestments?  (Read 1629 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: March 27, 2010, 10:44:18 PM »

When I look at any icon of the Theotokos, she is dressed in a red head-covering, and then a black-ish blue robe/dress.  but in the Catholic paintings and statues of Mary, she has blue & white, black, gold, red, etc.

why is the Orthodox depiction of the Theotokos so consistant, where in Catholic art, the colors of her vestments are subject to "artistic license"?
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2010, 12:05:35 AM »

Iconography is a tradition in the Orthodox Church, and tradition calls for certain coloring, with meaning attached.  In Orthodox Iconography, the Theotokos' inner garment is blue, symbolizing her humanity.  Her red covering robe, symbolizes the royal role she accepted and took on, to be the Mother of God, her Son being, our "King and God."  (Christ on the other hand, is depicted with a red inner garment, symbolizing His Royal, Kingly nature, and He wears a blue robe, symbolizing the human nature he took on.) Not all iconography is this precisely executed, but this is the traditional practice.
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2010, 06:25:51 AM »

Iconography is a tradition in the Orthodox Church, and tradition calls for certain coloring, with meaning attached.  In Orthodox Iconography, the Theotokos' inner garment is blue, symbolizing her humanity.  Her red covering robe, symbolizes the royal role she accepted and took on, to be the Mother of God, her Son being, our "King and God."  (Christ on the other hand, is depicted with a red inner garment, symbolizing His Royal, Kingly nature, and He wears a blue robe, symbolizing the human nature he took on.) Not all iconography is this precisely executed, but this is the traditional practice.

I would add that the western/Roman church took many years to accept the authority of the Quinisext Ecumenical Council, which dealt with, among other matters, the nature of iconography.

To put it VERY briefly, the initial non-acceptance of the canons of this Council, notably its canons on iconography, set the stage for the gradual divergence of western religious art and canonical Orthodox iconography, which, by the Renaissance period of western Europe, was essentially complete. In other words, by the time of the 15th century, western liturgical art had lost any real resemblance to Orthodox iconography, both in the artistic style employed, and in its place in liturgical and private devotion. The creativity of the artist was allowed to come to the fore, even to the point of allowing saints and the Virgin's faces to be modeled on people living at that time. This practise is completely unacceptable and contrary to Orthodox iconographic principles.
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2010, 01:19:24 PM »

"O vanity of human powers,
how briefly lasts the crowning green of glory,
unless an age of darkness follows!
In painting Cimabue thought he held the field
but now it's Giotto has the cry,
so that the other's fame is dimmed." - Dante
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2010, 02:01:44 PM »

Iconography is a tradition in the Orthodox Church, and tradition calls for certain coloring, with meaning attached.  In Orthodox Iconography, the Theotokos' inner garment is blue, symbolizing her humanity.  Her red covering robe, symbolizes the royal role she accepted and took on, to be the Mother of God, her Son being, our "King and God."  (Christ on the other hand, is depicted with a red inner garment, symbolizing His Royal, Kingly nature, and He wears a blue robe, symbolizing the human nature he took on.) Not all iconography is this precisely executed, but this is the traditional practice.

This is actually the opposite of what I have read and heard from iconographers, red the color of blood is the color of humanity, blue the color of the heavens is the color of divinity.  Red over blue on the Theotokos represents she held the divinity within her humanity.  Blue over red on Christ represents his covering our humanity with his divinity.  Of course one can find many examples where both are depicted entirely in blue, most notably Hagia Sophia and other surviving mosaics in churches in Constantinople.
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2010, 01:12:01 AM »

Iconography is a tradition in the Orthodox Church, and tradition calls for certain coloring, with meaning attached.  In Orthodox Iconography, the Theotokos' inner garment is blue, symbolizing her humanity.  Her red covering robe, symbolizes the royal role she accepted and took on, to be the Mother of God, her Son being, our "King and God."  (Christ on the other hand, is depicted with a red inner garment, symbolizing His Royal, Kingly nature, and He wears a blue robe, symbolizing the human nature he took on.) Not all iconography is this precisely executed, but this is the traditional practice.

This is actually the opposite of what I have read and heard from iconographers, red the color of blood is the color of humanity, blue the color of the heavens is the color of divinity.  Red over blue on the Theotokos represents she held the divinity within her humanity.  Blue over red on Christ represents his covering our humanity with his divinity.  Of course one can find many examples where both are depicted entirely in blue, most notably Hagia Sophia and other surviving mosaics in churches in Constantinople.

I was taught the blue represented her virginity/purity and the red represented the sorrow of her son on the cross.
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2010, 04:45:44 PM »

So no one even agrees with the meaning of the symbolic colors?
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2010, 04:52:03 PM »

So no one even agrees with the meaning of the symbolic colors?

This is Orthodoxy. Were you expecting an organized religion?  laugh
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2010, 04:53:18 PM »

So no one even agrees with the meaning of the symbolic colors?

This is Orthodoxy. Were you expecting an organized religion?  laugh

Organic, holistic yes... organized... no so much.  laugh
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St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”
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