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Encyclopedia > Iconography
Look up Iconography in
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Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek εικον (image) and γραφειν (to write), and a secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the Byzantine and Orthodox tradition. This article covers mainly the history of religious images, known as Icons, in Eastern Christianity. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... It has been suggested that French Wiktionary be merged into this article or section. ... This article is about the academic discipline of art history. ... Look up icon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The most famous of the surviving Byzantine mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople - the image of Christ Pantocrator on the walls of the upper southern gallery. ... Separate articles treat Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Orthodox Judaism. ... Look up icon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in Greece, Russia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, northeastern Africa and southern India over several centuries of religious antiquity. ...

Contents

Iconography in the history of religious art

Icons are used by many different religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. Hinduism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Buddhism is a dharmic, non-theistic religion, which is also a philosophy and a system of psychology. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ...


Icons in Jewish tradition

It is commonly thought that the Jews absolutely prohibit "graven images" as part of their tradition; this however is not entirely true. There are numerous instances within the scriptures that describe the creation and use of images for religious purposes (the angels on the Ark of the Covenant, the bronze snake Moses mounted on a pole, etc). What is important to note is that none of these are worshipped as God. Since God is incorporeal and has no form, he cannot be depicted. During the Late Antique period it is clear that restrictions on representation were relaxed considerably. The synagogue at Dura Europas had large figurative wall paintings. It is also clear there was a tradition of painted scrolls, of which the Joshua Roll and the Utrecht Psalter are medieval Christian copies; none of the originals having survived. There are also many medieval illuminated manuscripts, especially of the Haggadah of Pesach. There does not seem to have been a Jewish tradition of icons as panel paintings however. Idolatry is a major sin in the Abrahamic religions regarding image. ... A late 19th-century artists conception of the Ark of the Covenant, employing a Renaissance cassone for the Ark and cherubim as latter-day Christian angels The Ark of the Covenant (ארון הברית in Hebrew: aron habrit) is described in the Hebrew Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the stone... Moses with the Tablets, 1659, by Rembrandt This article is about the Biblical figure. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Dura-Europos was a Hellenistic and Roman walled city built on an escarpment 90 meters above the banks of the river Euphrates. ... Scroll can have different meanings: A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper which has been drawn or written upon. ... The Joshua Roll is a 10th century[1] illuminated manuscript created in the Byzantine empire by artists of the Imperial Court School[2]. It has heavy Greco-Roman influences[1] and is rendered in grisaille. ... The Utrecht Psalter The Utrecht Psalter is a ninth century illuminated psalter and an important product of Carolingian art. ... In the strictest definition of illuminated manuscript, only manuscripts decorated with gold or silver, like this miniature of Christ in Majesty from the Aberdeen Bestiary (folio 4v), would be considered illuminated. ... Haggadah for Passover (fourteenth century). ...


The Byzantine and Orthodox icon tradition

Main article: Icon
Eastern Orthodox Christian usually say their prayers in front of an Eastern facing wall covered with icons
Eastern Orthodox Christian usually say their prayers in front of an Eastern facing wall covered with icons

With the rise of Christianity, however, it is believed that the immaterial God took flesh in the form of Jesus Christ, making it possible to depict in human form the Son of God. It is on this basis that the old prescriptions against images were changed for the early Christians. Also, the concept of archetype was redefined by the early church fathers in order to better understand that when a person shows veneration toward an image, the intention is rather to honor the person depicted, not the substance of the icon. Look up icon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Download high resolution version (477x636, 68 KB)Copyright © 2004 by Andrew Stephen Damick. ... Download high resolution version (477x636, 68 KB)Copyright © 2004 by Andrew Stephen Damick. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


In the traditions of Eastern Christianity, only flat images or bas relief images are used. They believe the first icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary to have been painted by St. Luke. Because the Greeks rejected statuary, the Byzantine icon style was developed in which figures were stylized in a manner that emphasized their holiness rather than their humanity. Symbolism allowed the icon to present highly complex material in a very simple way, making it possible to educate even the illiterate in theology. The interiors of Orthodox Churches are often completely covered in icons of Christ, Mary and the saints. Most are portrait figures in various conventional poses, but many narrative scenes are also depicted. Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in Greece, Russia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, northeastern Africa and southern India over several centuries of religious antiquity. ... Christian churches teach various doctrines concerning Mary, who is the subject of much veneration. ... Luke the Evangelist (לוקא, Greek: Loukas) is said by tradition to be the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, the third and fifth books of the New Testament. ...


Icons flourished within the Christian world, but by the 7th century, certain factions arose within the church to challenge the use of icons. The Iconoclasts actively destroyed icons wherever they found them replacing them with the only depiction allowed, the cross. The Iconodules, on the other hand argued that icons had always been used by Christians and should continue. Finally, after much debate at the 7th ecumenical council, held in Nicaea in 787, the Iconodules, supported by the Empress, upheld the use of icons as an integral part of Christian tradition. The 7th century is the period from 601 - 700 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... Illustration of the Beeldenstorm during the Dutch reformation Iconoclasm is the destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. ... Iconodules (or Iconophile) is someone who supports or is in favour of religious images, or icons, also known as Iconography, and is in opposition to an Iconoclast (someone against Iconography). ... The Second Council of Nicaea was the seventh ecumenical council of Christianity; it met in 787 AD in Nicaea (site of the First Council of Nicaea) to restore the honoring of icons (or, holy images), which had been suppressed by imperial edict inside the Byzantine Empire during the reign of... In Christianity, an Ecumenical Council or general council is a meeting of the bishops of the whole church convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice. ... İznik (which derives from the former Greek name Νίκαια Nicaea) is a city in Turkey which is known primarily as the site of two major meetings (or Ecumenical councils) in the early history of the Christian church. ... This article is about the year 787. ...


Today, Icons are still used extensively by the Eastern Orthodox. Icons are kissed, carried in procession, and venerated.


Icons in Western Christianity

Until the 13th century, icons followed a broadly similar pattern in West and East - although very few survive from this early from either tradition. Western icons, which are not usually so termed, were largely patterned on Byzantine works, and equally conventional in composition and depiction. From this point on the western tradition came slowly to allow the artist far more flexibility, and a more realist approach to the figures.


In the 15th century the use of icons in the West was enormously increased by the introduction of prints on paper, mostly woodcuts which were produced in vast numbers. With the Reformation, after an initial uncertainty among early Lutherans, Protestants came down firmly against icon-like portraits, especially larger ones, even of Christ. Many Protestants found these "idolatrous". Catholics maintained, even intensified the traditional use of icons, both printed and on paper, now using the different styles of the Renaissance and Baroque. Popular Catholic imagery to a certain extent has remained attached to a Baroque style of about 1650, especially in Italy and Spain. The term Old Master Print is used to describe works of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition (European or New World). ... A blank sheet of paper Paper is a commodity of thin material produced by the amalgamation of fibers, typically vegetable fibers composed of cellulose, which are subsequently held together by hydrogen bonding. ... Four horsemen of the Apocalypse by Albrecht Dürer. ...


Islamic view on icons

Icons are strictly forbidden in Islam if they are consecrated. However Islamic art differs in its view of icons ranging from totally forbidding drawings and photography as with the Wahhabis to forbidding only drawings but not photography to allowing both as with the majority of Sunni Muslims. Some Shia allow even the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad and his cousin Ali, a position totally unacceptable to the Sunnis. Muslims view sanctified icons as idols, and strictly forbid the worship of an icon, or worship in front of it. Islam (Arabic:  ) is a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. ... The term Islamic art denotes the arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people (not necessarily Muslim) who lived within the territory that was inhabited by culturally Islamic populations. ... Wahhabism (sometimes spelled Wahabbism or Wahabism) is a movement of Islam named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792). ... Sunni Islam (Arabic سنّة) is the largest denomination of Islam. ... Shiʻa Islam (Arabic شيعى follower; English has traditionally used Shiite) makes up the second largest sect of believers in Islam, constituting about 30%–35% of all Muslim. ...


Hinduism

The Hindu god Shiva. Note the blue skin and damaru drum held in his back hand
The Hindu god Shiva. Note the blue skin and damaru drum held in his back hand
Main article: Hindu iconography

Images of Hindu gods use a rich symbolism. Some figures are blue-skinned (the color of heaven) or may have multiple arms holding various symbols depicting aspects of the god. public domain file found on numerous sites File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... public domain file found on numerous sites File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... “Nilakantha” redirects here. ... Over the millennia of its development Hinduism has adopted several icons that are imbued with spiritual meaning based on either the scriptures or cultural traditions. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Iconography in other academic research

In other academic disciplines such as, anthropology, sociology, media studies and cultural studies, iconography refers the study of images or signs like for instance those image that have an important significance to a particular culture. Discussing imagery as iconography in this way implies a critical "reading" of imagery that often attempts to explore social and cultural values. Anthropology is the study of the physical and social characteristics of humanity through the examination of historical and present geographical distribution, cultural history, acculturation, and cultural relationships. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Media studies concerns the study of media content, institutions, and its role in society. ... Cultural studies is an academic discipline popular among a diverse group of scholars. ... In semiotics, a sign is generally defined as, ...something that stands for something else, to someone in some capacity. ...


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Iconography
Related Academic Topics
Specific Religious Topics

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... This article is about the academic discipline of art history. ... The anthropology of religion involves the study of religious institutions in relation to other social institutions, and the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across cultures. ... Semiotics, semiotic studies, or semiology is the study of signs and symbols, both individually and grouped into sign systems. ... The sociology of religion is primarily the study of the practices, social structures, historical backgrounds, development, universal themes, and roles of religion in society. ... Symbolic anthropology (or more broadly, symbolic and interpretive anthropology) is a diverse set of approaches within cultural anthropology that view culture as a symbolic system that arises primarily from human interpretations of the world. ... The word “symbology” appears in several English dictionaries. ... The term Islamic art denotes the arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people (not necessarily Muslim) who lived within the territory that was inhabited by culturally Islamic populations. ... Christian art is art that spans many segments of Christianity. ... Early Christian art and architecture is the art produced by Christians or under Christian patronage from about the year 200 to about the year 500. ... There are no undisputed historical images of Jesus; he sat for no portraits which are preserved and of unquestioned authenticity and undoubted provenance. ... Saint symbology was important to people who couldnt read because they can figure out what symbols mean. ... Theology and the Arts is an academic subdiscipline of theological studies which examines the relationship between: theology (i. ... An unusual depiction of a religious figure is when a well-known religious figure is shown on something on which you would not normally expect to see them. ... A German holy card from around 1910 depicts the Crucifixion. ...

External links

  • and answers about icons and icongrphy and galleryis
  • Church of the Nativity - Explanation of Orthodox Christian Icons
  • Iconography in the dictionary of The History of Ideas
  • Catholic Encyclopedia article
  • Iconography of Deities and Demons in the Ancient Near East (Project of the Swiss National Science Foundation at the Universities of Zurich and Fribourg
  • Iconography in contemporary architecture
  • Serbian Orthodox Iconography
  • Web site for European Sacred Mountains, Calvaries and Devotional Complexes

  Results from FactBites:
 
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iconography. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05 (712 words)
As used today, therefore, the term is necessarily qualified to indicate the field of iconographic study under discussion—e.g., the iconography of the various Egyptian deities, the iconography of Roman imperial portraits, early Christian iconography, Buddhist or Hindu iconography, Byzantine iconography, Gothic iconography.
As a method of scholarly research the science of iconography strives also to recover and express the thought from which a given convention of representation has arisen, particularly when the convention has assumed the value of a symbol.
The importance of identifying motifs is central to iconographical interpretation.
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