The 2 nd Commandment "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them…” Exodus 20:4 & 5
After the Incarnation of Jesus Christ “When you contemplate God becoming man, then you can depict Him clothed in human form. When the invisible One becomes visible to flesh, you may then draw His likeness.” St. John of Damascus
An Icon is Written A book is an icon written with words. In the beginning, letter were images (e.g. Hieroglyphics) An icon tells us a story depicted in lines and colors. “A picture is worth a 1000 words.” (Old Chinese adage) Images are more powerful than words
The Service of Icons: Windows into heaven Reveal the glory of God Reveal the unseen heavenly host of Angels, Saints, and Martyrs We use icons to illustrate the Gospel of Christ.
Praying with Icons: Icons are specifically written for meditation Written by monks, devoted to meditations Consecrated with Mayroon (holy oil) Examples
Who can write an icon? Not every person can write an icon. Qualifications for an iconographer: 1.An active member of the Church 2.Living a spiritual life 3.Possesses Theological knowledge 4.A skilled artist (secondary importance) Monks have traditionally filled the role of icon-writers.
Technique of Making an Icon Type of wood used Preparing the wooden slab
Technique of Making an Icon Covered with fine cotton cloth Coated with a mixture of animal glue, chalk and titanium white pigment
Technique of Making an Icon Copying or drawing the motif Background covered with red brown bole Dried, smoothed with sandpaper, and polished with steel wool
Technique of Making an Icon Gilding with gold leaves Leaves affixed with animal glue & alcohol Brushed lightly and burnished with agate
Technique of Making an Icon Halo punched Paint emulsion made of egg yolk, water, vinegar & color pigments Limited Color spectrum (spiritual inducing)
Technique of Making an Icon Painted systematically – background to foreground Working from darker to lighter shades Here, folds in robes & facial features outlined
Technique of Making an Icon Lastly, inscriptions are written Varnished to protect & brighten surface
Some rules for writing icons: 1.The icon must include the worshipper in its subject. 2.There must never be any unnecessary lines or colors to distract the worshipper. 3.The background gilded with gold 4.Halos radiate from within the face of the saint. 5.The holy one is depicted as victorious and joyful, never as weak or full of pain.