Author Topic: Canonical Icons of Christ  (Read 562 times)

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Offline OrthoNoob

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Canonical Icons of Christ
« on: October 18, 2012, 03:23:47 PM »
Does anyone know which canons stipulate which events in Our Lord's life may be depicted, and in particular if there are any canonical icons of Him carrying the Cross?
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 05:33:59 PM »
Does anyone know which canons stipulate which events in Our Lord's life may be depicted, and in particular if there are any canonical icons of Him carrying the Cross?

If it actually happened, I would find it weird a canon forbids its depection.

Probably you don't see icons of Christ carrying His cross because the icons you see, for the most part, are the fraction that have been made into prints and mounted. Chances are, you don't live close to ancient frescoed monasteries with scenes depicted on the walls. There's far more out there in the real world than is available on the Interne--either for sale or display.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 06:22:46 PM »
Does anyone know which canons stipulate which events in Our Lord's life may be depicted, and in particular if there are any canonical icons of Him carrying the Cross?

Stand-alone icons of Christ carrying His cross are rare, but this scene is often featured in church mural icons which show a sequence of scenes as a narrative. There are also quadripartite (four-paneled) icons in the Russian tradition which depict scenes from Christ's Passion, which are used as "festal" icons during Holy Week.
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Offline OrthoNoob

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 06:24:21 PM »
Does anyone know which canons stipulate which events in Our Lord's life may be depicted, and in particular if there are any canonical icons of Him carrying the Cross?

If it actually happened, I would find it weird a canon forbids its depection.

There has been a lot of arguing on this site over whether St. Joseph the Betrothed can be shown holding the infant Christ, even though he almost certainly did at some point.

Probably you don't see icons of Christ carrying His cross because the icons you see, for the most part, are the fraction that have been made into prints and mounted. Chances are, you don't live close to ancient frescoed monasteries with scenes depicted on the walls. There's far more out there in the real world than is available on the Interne--either for sale or display.

Would you happen to know if the painting Christ Bearing the Cross by Nicolaos Tzafouris is an icon, and how I can prove it? (I'm writing an essay about art and part of my point relates to Byzantine iconography. Trouble is, it looks like an icon, and it would really help my point if it were an icon, but I've never seen any other icon of that event and I don't know how to find out if it's a legit icon.)
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Offline LBK

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2012, 06:31:40 PM »
Quote
There has been a lot of arguing on this site over whether St. Joseph the Betrothed can be shown holding the infant Christ, even though he almost certainly did at some point.

I did put out an offer of emailing an article which deals with this very matter to anyone who was interested, to which there were no takers. The offer is still there, my email address is in my profile.

The short answer is "no, St Joseph should not be shown holding the Christ-child in icons".
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Offline OrthoNoob

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2012, 06:38:12 PM »
Quote
There has been a lot of arguing on this site over whether St. Joseph the Betrothed can be shown holding the infant Christ, even though he almost certainly did at some point.

I did put out an offer of emailing an article which deals with this very matter to anyone who was interested, to which there were no takers. The offer is still there, my email address is in my profile.

The short answer is "no, St Joseph should not be shown holding the Christ-child in icons".

And yet I assume you don't claim he never did it. If I'm right, that would prove my point to Shanghaiski: that we can't assume an event is canonically permissible for an icon simply because it happened.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2012, 06:43:32 PM »
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Would you happen to know if the painting Christ Bearing the Cross by Nicolaos Tzafouris is an icon, and how I can prove it?

The general composition is not contrary to iconographic principles, but there are elements in the work which is typical of the Italo-Cretan school which increasingly incorporated imagery and stylistic elements from the Italian Renaissance, which increasingly emphasized the temporal and individualistic. The soldier in armor is rather jarring, he is of the fifteenth century, not a first-century Roman; and the act of the artist signing his name is a definite no-no.

Can it be venerated as an icon? If there was nothing else available, my answer would be "perhaps". The individualistic, self-expressive elements of this work diminish its integrity as an icon.
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Offline OrthoNoob

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 06:48:11 PM »
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Would you happen to know if the painting Christ Bearing the Cross by Nicolaos Tzafouris is an icon, and how I can prove it?

The general composition is not contrary to iconographic principles, but there are elements in the work which is typical of the Italo-Cretan school which increasingly incorporated imagery and stylistic elements from the Italian Renaissance, which increasingly emphasized the temporal and individualistic. The soldier in armor is rather jarring, he is of the fifteenth century, not a first-century Roman; and the act of the artist signing his name is a definite no-no.

Can it be venerated as an icon? If there was nothing else available, my answer would be "perhaps". The individualistic, self-expressive elements of this work diminish its integrity as an icon.

Thanks. But I am confused about the problem with the artist signing his name; isn't it common for icons to read "By the hand of so-and-so" somewhere?
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Offline LBK

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2012, 06:59:38 PM »
Quote
Would you happen to know if the painting Christ Bearing the Cross by Nicolaos Tzafouris is an icon, and how I can prove it?

The general composition is not contrary to iconographic principles, but there are elements in the work which is typical of the Italo-Cretan school which increasingly incorporated imagery and stylistic elements from the Italian Renaissance, which increasingly emphasized the temporal and individualistic. The soldier in armor is rather jarring, he is of the fifteenth century, not a first-century Roman; and the act of the artist signing his name is a definite no-no.

Can it be venerated as an icon? If there was nothing else available, my answer would be "perhaps". The individualistic, self-expressive elements of this work diminish its integrity as an icon.

Thanks. But I am confused about the problem with the artist signing his name; isn't it common for icons to read "By the hand of so-and-so" somewhere?

No, not at all. The practice of inscribing "by the hand of ..." only emerged during this period, as a direct result of this western influence. Prior to this, icons were never signed. The work of an iconographer belongs to the Church, not to him, and he works in obedience to the liturgical and doctrinal traditions of the Church. He is not a free agent, giving free rein to his interpretation, creativity and self-expression.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2012, 07:46:22 PM »
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There has been a lot of arguing on this site over whether St. Joseph the Betrothed can be shown holding the infant Christ, even though he almost certainly did at some point.

I did put out an offer of emailing an article which deals with this very matter to anyone who was interested, to which there were no takers. The offer is still there, my email address is in my profile.

The short answer is "no, St Joseph should not be shown holding the Christ-child in icons".

What I meant with "if it actually happened" was an actual event recorded in Scripture.
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Offline Nephi

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2012, 11:59:30 PM »
Thanks. But I am confused about the problem with the artist signing his name; isn't it common for icons to read "By the hand of so-and-so" somewhere?

As LBK said, but it is indeed common (albeit wrongly) to see.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Canonical Icons of Christ
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 01:13:26 AM »
The soldier in armor is rather jarring, he is of the fifteenth century, not a first-century Roman
Our icons use soldiers in 11th century Byzantine scale armor, so...
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 01:14:26 AM by NicholasMyra »
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