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Author Topic: Icon Corner Aesthetics  (Read 3624 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: April 22, 2010, 10:21:57 PM »

How important are aesthetics to you when it comes to your icon corner? Is that kind of thing at the bottom of your list, or do you feel that an orderly or pleasing presentation magnifies the beauty of the icons themselves? Is the case of an icon corner a situation where "less is more"? Are tons of icons just overkill? What then of the cells of monastic saints who had tons of icons? Do you prefer a particular shape for your icons to make (circle, square, cross)?
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2010, 10:28:39 PM »

Most of my "icons" are mounted prints, or icon cards that I have picked up here and there. I try to keep my icon corner neat and tidy, and not to use the top of the dresser in the icon corner for any other purposes. (Although the rest of the dresser is used for clothes. When space is at a premium, you do what you can and pray the Lord is merciful!)

I suppose if I was purchasing a handwritten icon I would care more about the style and design, but since the most "expensive" icon I own cost $24, I haven't worried about it too much. It's more about the connection with the saint or event shown.
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2010, 10:31:55 PM »

I'm no expert, but I guess it's a matter of individual taste. Personally, if I had authentic icons, then I would go for the "less is more" approach. But I only have one authentic icon (a tripticon), and the rest are icons I have printed out and had framed or laminated. So, my icon corner is pretty covered with these laminated and framed icons. But I love it, and I took a lot of time in how I organized it.

That's just my two cents on it. I may be completely wrong in how I have done it. Although when a EO Priest visited our home he said he liked it very much. So I took that as validation. Wink


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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 10:41:11 PM »

I love symmetry.  It's just how my brain sees beauty.  My wife, who is the complete opposite, has introduced me to the aesthetics of non-symmetry and I can appreciate it when I must, but, given my druthers, I prefer geometric patterns of some sort, preferably symmetrical.  My icon corners are painfully symmetrical with one exception at my work, where it's simply a little heavy on one side, a "problem" I will rectify soon. Smiley

I think it's largely a matter of taste, but I do like the "less is more" approach. 
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2010, 11:07:56 PM »

I used to want to collect every beautiful icon on the earth, but these days I really feel like giving away a lot of what I bought and just having an icon of the Mother of God with a single lampada; the whole less-is-more thing. I agree about symmetry, though. I'm the same way.
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2010, 11:44:40 PM »

My original icons were bought from the same place, so they all have a similar style. I have a bunch of other icons that have been added though. I keep the original ones (Christ, Theotokos, Crucifixion, St. Luke, Baptism of Christ, and the Archangels) in my icon corner, and my other icons are spread throughout my room.
I've recently been debating about consolidating all my icons back to my icon corner... It won't be as neat and tidy, but I might like it better.
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2010, 12:02:45 AM »

I love symmetry.  It's just how my brain sees beauty.  My wife, who is the complete opposite, has introduced me to the aesthetics of non-symmetry and I can appreciate it when I must, but, given my druthers, I prefer geometric patterns of some sort, preferably symmetrical.  My icon corners are painfully symmetrical with one exception at my work, where it's simply a little heavy on one side, a "problem" I will rectify soon. Smiley
A man after my own heart. Wink  I also love symmetry and geometrical patterns and have arranged the icons in my icon corner accordingly.
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2010, 03:13:44 AM »

I used to want to collect every beautiful icon on the earth, but these days I really feel like giving away a lot of what I bought and just having an icon of the Mother of God with a single lampada; the whole less-is-more thing. I agree about symmetry, though. I'm the same way.

Haha, I was the same. I used to collect icons in a way so now my icon corner has 28 icons in it but sometimes I wish that I also just had one icon in a little corner like St. Seraphim had. Though, having all the icons make it feel like I'm in a little chapel and in a way thats what the icon corner is meant to be; a chapel in the home. But a lot of them were gifts though. The big reason that I ended up wanting a lot of icons in my icon corner was because of the only photo I saw at the time of an icon corner was quite elaborate so I wanted to make mine like that.
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2010, 03:33:10 AM »

Yeah. I think the point with any of this is really just to pray. Be content with what you have, and don't over-think these things. To be obsessive about aesthetics can become a sin. Our love for holy things can lead to an acquisitiveness that actually dishonors God. I know I am guilty of this: always wanting more religious trinkets, but never wanting Christ as much. I labor to buy more mere traces of His glory rather than just seizing the real thing. Kyrie eleison.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 03:33:21 AM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2010, 03:34:36 AM »

Yeah. I think the point with any of this is really just to pray. Be content with what you have, and don't over-think these things. To be obsessive about aesthetics can become a sin. Our love for holy things can lead to an acquisitiveness that actually dishonors God. I know I am guilty of this: always wanting more religious trinkets, but never wanting Christ as much. I labor to buy more mere traces of His glory rather than just seizing the real thing. Kyrie eleison.

Amen!
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2010, 03:40:40 AM »

Yeah. I think the point with any of this is really just to pray. Be content with what you have, and don't over-think these things. To be obsessive about aesthetics can become a sin. Our love for holy things can lead to an acquisitiveness that actually dishonors God. I know I am guilty of this: always wanting more religious trinkets, but never wanting Christ as much. I labor to buy more mere traces of His glory rather than just seizing the real thing. Kyrie eleison.

Stop saying such things! Don't you know this kind of thing convicts me? You done gone from preachin' to meddlin'! Wink


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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2010, 02:33:54 PM »

I truly believe our icon corner was arranged by God.
We moved from a very large vicarage where we had lots and lots of icons to a small terraced house when we left Anglicanism to seek Orthodoxy. When the moving in process began the first thing I put up were the icons that have remained at the centre of our corner ever since. I had no conscious purpose or design behind the choice, I simply thought I wanted some icons up in our new home before we moved in.
Anyway, to jump ahead, we were received on Lazarus Saturday and received our first communion on Palm Sunday. These are the two largest of the icons in our corner. I was then ordained on the feast of Saint Luke, this is also in our corner. The only other icons are our Lord, the Theotokos and our patron saints.
When I realised the first two icons had been there all along, it reinforced my sense that all things happen according to God's will and in God's time.
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2010, 04:55:41 PM »

Mine is somewhat like a Monet painting.  If you step back, it's mostly symmetrical.  If you're up close, it looks as if I've employed the Taoist concept of 'wu wei'.  I have friends who actually use laser guides and levels when arranging their icons but I prefer a much more organic approach. 
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2010, 08:51:39 AM »

I used to want to collect every beautiful icon on the earth, but these days I really feel like giving away a lot of what I bought and just having an icon of the Mother of God with a single lampada; the whole less-is-more thing. I agree about symmetry, though. I'm the same way.

Haha, I was the same. I used to collect icons in a way so now my icon corner has 28 icons in it but sometimes I wish that I also just had one icon in a little corner like St. Seraphim had. Though, having all the icons make it feel like I'm in a little chapel and in a way thats what the icon corner is meant to be; a chapel in the home.

I can relate.  I only have about 9 (wow, I just counted).  when I get older, I want to have quite a few.  I tend to forget to pray to saints that, when I first read about them, say "I'll pray for your intercession everyday".  when I have my own home, I'll have a full space devoted to them, not just a crunched 4 ft. on a wall in a teenager's bedroom!  I LOVE elder Cleopa's cell, covered with icons.  I go there in my head when I pray at school.

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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2010, 10:31:06 AM »

Notice that he has quite a few photos in his cell and then, quite a few of the icons wouldn't qualify as such in the eyes of some snobs.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2010, 02:47:31 PM »

I have my icons in the shape of a cross, and one of my icons is significantly smaller than it's complementary icon on the other side. It's bugging me. Of all things! Of all my problems, that is what's bugging me!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2010, 04:25:25 PM »

I have my icons in the shape of a cross, and one of my icons is significantly smaller than it's complementary icon on the other side. It's bugging me. Of all things! Of all my problems, that is what's bugging me!  Roll Eyes
I can relate to this.  I have a setup of Theotokos-Christ-St. Tikhon of Moscow on my dresser, with other icons mounted on the wall.  before I got a larger one, I had a tiny icon of Christ between two larger icons (which my godparents gave me @ chrismation).  honestly, it looked a bit silly to have an icon representing our Lord to be the smallest of all.  I have since gotten a new, larger icon of Christ.
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2010, 01:53:08 PM »

I'm all for symmetry.  The Crucifix is my central icon, with an icon of Christ to the right, the Theotokos to the left, the Resurrection above it, and St. John Maximovitch below.  The icons of  Theotokos, Christ, and St. John are each draped with prayer ropes.  I have a passion for prayer ropes and the Jesus Prayer.

My table has two more icons, one of the Theotokos and the other of Christ, and other devotional items, placed just so. 

Good Lord, I just realized how obsessive-compulsive I am.   Undecided
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« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2010, 08:15:30 PM »

My icon corner developed and now I am happy with it...only my top icon...Christ pantocrator was smaller than the theotokos below it and that just concerned me slightly.. I went to a romanian orthodox liturgy recently and there was a lovely Christ Pantocrator...but would it be too big...Ah ye of little faith, it fitted perfectly to the centimeter. Thern I have St John (my patron)...and because I am Irish I believe we should have our own Irish saints on the icon corner too..So St Brigid, St Brendan, and St Kieran is there too (kieran is my sons and brothers name) ...I have three quite different Theotokos, and just when I wanted it someone gave me a real small but perfect loooking St Silouan who I have a great love for...Its evolved and when the candles are lit and the votive lamp is burning and we are saying our prayers I must say that it looks so uplifting, and when we incense them too, which is quite often , it adds even further to the aesthetics...To think it all started with a romanian girl I walked on the camino sending me one solitary but beautiful Theotokos Icon...just thought I'd share that since thats what we're talking about here...By the way candlelight is aesthetically essential in my opinion to add to the overall spiritual aesthetic..
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« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2010, 09:55:03 PM »

My icon corner is slightly organized, but not chaotic - also not perfectly symmetrical. The only "real" icon I had was of my patron saint, but recently my priest gave me some extra icons he had (of Christ, Theotokos, The Resurrection, St. Ignatius, and a Guardian Angel (for my daughter really, since it has a small girl w the angel)) when I asked him if it was ok to print icons from the internet. I use small votive candles (six in all) which I believe adds to my concentration and sometimes incense as well. What empty space I have in my small area is filled with bulletins from my church which have icons on them (I don't nab every bulletin, but choose those that are particularly beautiful or call out to me) - I plan on getting actual icons of those on the bulletins. I still need a cross for the center of my icon corner...
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