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RESEARCH IN ICONS

 

 

Book of Matthew

22:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Book of Mark         

10:50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus

10:51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

10:52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy fate hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

 

 

 

Living in harmony with the Holly Scriptures, actually joining actively and creatively the spoken Gospels word for the sake of self realization, reveals to us that icon really is and must be alive. Icon is integral part of our life and helps us in reviving and creating community with God. Only the thorough contemplation of icon (mentally profound conversation with a picture) leads to the creative and prolific revelations of the observer. The very same relationship presents the iconographer (a painter of icons) with his creative and authentic iconographic solutions. Therefore, icon means identification with life for the iconographer. It is his starvation and nourishment, his joy and tear, fate and hope, fatigue and rest. It is his path for searching and safe path for potential finding self.

 

Some basic issues (that justify iconographic research) will be stated here. Since icon carries the Holly Secret that is not entirely comprehensive to a human, its content is neither final nor exhausted. Consequently, icon permits supplements and alterations in certain way. Every humans deeper step into its content will reveal to him a new world, new expression or new image. Both the iconographer and the one who prays in front of the icon are motivated to deepen their relation with the Secret by faith and consciousness about their own weakness to comprehend the entireness of the icon. This aspiration can lead to fruitful solutions in harmony with the Gospel. On the other hand, new saints bring new icons (the life of church exists now as it will in future and was in the past and it is led by the Holly Ghost which means that as the spiritual cognitions were possible in the past they are possible today and tomorrow. Finally, the act of copying an icon will always introduce a part of iconographers time, portion of his personality, an achieved degree of effort to reach the Almighty (so to say, iconographer neither is nor can be an objective camera - after all it is not his goal and the very act of copying can not be taken literally as well).

 

Up to this chapter we have been occupied with reading of icons and now we would try to get deeper into the act of its creation. The technological process was explained in the chapter Writing-Technology of Icon so we should concentrate on the thematic-theological understanding of its birth (OCOKOLJIC Jugoslav: Ikona, pisanje, citanje i sozercanje ikone sa teologijom ikone, Beograd, 2004). This problem could be solved by exploring the deepness of an icon. The way of creating it and the language of the icons painter are harmonized with his time and previous revelations (simple evidence, noticeable at first sight, is the change of saint's clothes as well as in replacing scrolls with books painted in saints hand though more complex evidence lies in the survey of icon's composition). Such language is better recognized by a contemporary human. It never and in no way disturbs the essential Message emphasizing its Truth in the foreground. In that way, the manuscript of an iconographer remains one of the means of revelation. In accordance with these considerations, we can look at differently manu-scripted works of art that still preserve the basic features of our Lord on the following illustrations.

 

The iconographic image of Jesus Christ through centuries 

 

From the 6-th to 11-th centuries 

   

     .......

15-th century, Andrew Rublev, 17-th, Emanuel Canes,  20-th century, by iconpainter Jugoslav

 

The basis of thematic-theological ground of an icon is the Holly Scripture Message which is based on historical event and the Message of our Lord Jesus Chris (Great festivals, the icons that describe life of the painted saint, acatistic icons...). The method of constructing an icon presents the process of unification and visualization of these two elements. The balance of these two structurally integral parts expresses the contends of an icon. Domination of either element is variable. It is artistically easier to express historical record and event while presenting the spiritual part evolves substantial problems. This problem can be overcome by application of symbols with artistic elements that could be used. In that respect, the use of symbols with artistic elements can be of decisive help (the idea could be presented by symbols only). Nowadays, iconography tends to be pleasant and is liable to likeability trying increasingly to meet demands of expressing beauty on the account of expressing exaltation (see chapter Esthetics in op. cit.). Very dominant expression of beauty in the terms of soft hues of color and shading leads the icon to express physical (natural) which is only one part of the icon as a whole. It seems that only the original drawing from the early Christian period (similarity) could save the icon from these tendencies. It seems that contemporary iconographers have forgotten well known thought of unknown apologist from the 2-nd century who described the Christians in a letter to a Dignet: They live in the body not by it. Apostle Paul said the same in the book of Romans (8,12): so then , brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. How to escape and avoid the above mentioned trap which does not appear in iconography for the first time (baroque)? It seems that only transparent, fresco-like deposits of paint (see fresco from Sopochani monastery) layers of egg tempera could lead us out of that trap. Such manner of painting the icons could be perceived on some icons from Novgorod school where the very ground layer could be distinguished. In the same way, only the appropriately spread emission of rays of light on icon, namely from the face in central position, can help substantially. The successful depiction of the saint's radiation will regain the icon's basic sense. Iconographer tries to dematerialize the material. Anything that prevents in any way the expression and presentation of spiritual value is worth of either being changed or excluded from the painting. The iconographer is primarily interested in the idea and secondarily in the appearance. He thinks and expresses himself in the form of ideas. The iconographers effort is manifested by the best and nearest possible depiction of unchangeable Truth (as much as Truth itself permits that).

 

We know that every icon is Christ centric. Two elements are involved in the presentation of saints: portrait of historical person and eschatological imagination of holiness of that same person. Therefore there are two elements that originate from two natures of our Lord.

 

Partial truth can not exist without the complete one. In accordance to that statement, we have done the preliminary analysis of the structure of all Great Festivals. When the dominant structural line of the picture is clear then the message of the picture is clear as well and does not show the sign of dilemma. Dominant vertical in all 12 Principal Great Festivals originates from the Cross. The vertical line is the carrier of the Cross, the symbol of Christianity. The vertical line of the Cross explains the way of descending of God's energy to us and ours ascending to Him. Following structural analyses of Great Festivals icons will show that this vertical line is dominant.

 

 

  Mother of God   Saint John the Theologian

                         Crucifix  

 

As to the composition the icon of Crucifix consists of the following verticals: the pillar of the Cross with the body of our Lord and two other verticals each slightly bent on the right and the left side. On the right is the Mother of God and Saint John Theologian on the left, and since they both bow their heads and body towards Crucifix the vertical is slightly bent. All Great festivals can be based on the same concept of dominant vertical according to the following hierarchy: THE ESSENCE AND THE ACTION OF THE HOLY TRINITY (symbol) and in the graphical presentation and and the TESTIMONY (event) in the graphical presentation .

 

The icon of Last Supper is also included since it is usually present on the iconostasis.

 

   

 

 

 

The Annunciation

    ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

 

 WILL AND ACTION: (Book of Luke 1,26) Blessings of the Holy Ghost (Angel Gabriel)

     Holy Mary (Testimony: willing acceptance) 

 

The Nativity of Christ

    ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

 WILL AND ACTION:(Book of Luke 2,11)

  Jesus Christ (child in its cradle, consequently Human being), Holy Mary and Saint Joseph and sheperds who are the witnesses (Testimony: The Birth of Salvation)

 

 

The Presentation of Jesus Christ in the Temple

    ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

 

WILL AND ACTION: (Book of Luke 2,26)and Blessing of the Holy Ghost (action)

   Jesus Christ and Saint Simeon (Testimony: The unification of Old and New Testament)  

 

 

The Baptizine of Our Lord (The Epiphany)

  ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

 

WILL AND ACTION:(Book of Luke 3,22)and the Blessing of the Holy Ghost: the dove(action)

   Jesus Christ and Saint John The Baptizer (Testimony: The Baptizine)   

 

 

 

The Transfiguration

   ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

 WILL AND ACTION: (Book of Luke 9,35) and the Blessing of the Holy Ghost: Mandorla, prophets, action) and Jesus Christ (here as a God, not as a "Servant")

 three apostles (Testimony: witness in helplessness)

 

 

The Raising of Lazarus 

   ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

WILL AND ACTION: (Book of John 11,41) and the Blessing of the Holy Ghost: action.

      Jesus Christ and Lazarus (Testimony: the Miracle of Our Lord) 

 

The Entry into Jerusalem

            ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy 

   WILL AND ACTION: (Book of John 12,15) and and the Blessing of the Holy Ghost: action.

    Jesus Christ sitting on an ass in front of the door of Jerusalem (Testimony: confirmation of prophecy of Old Testament) 

 

 

The Crucifixion

      ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

   WILL AND ACTION: the Blessing of the Holy Ghost: action.

    Jesus Christ on The Cross (at the bottom is the cave with Adam` s skull). Testimony: the crucified body and witnesses: Holy Mary and Saint John.   

 

 

The Descent into hell

    ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

  WILL AND ACTION: the Blessing of the Holy Ghost: Mandorla, action) and Jesus Christ

  Jesus Christ breaking the door of hell (Testimony: the victory over hell)          

 

 

The Ascension of Our Lord

  ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

   WILL AND ACTION: the Blessing of the Holy Ghost: Mandorla, (action) and Jesus Christ

   Mother of God with apostles (Testimony: witnesses)

 

 

The Descent of the Holy Spirit

 ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

      WILL AND ACTION:(Book of John 20,21/22) and (Book of Matthew 2,1) and the Blessing of the Holy Ghost (blazing flames)

  Apostles (Testimony: reception of Blessing of The Holy Ghost)    

 

The Ascension (Dormition) of the Mother of God

 ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

   WILL AND ACTION: the Blessing of the Holy Ghost: Mandorla, (action) and Jesus Christ with a bent soul of Mother of God

    The catafalque with a body of Mother of God and apostles (Testimony: the funeral)

 

 

The Last Supper

 

 ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The essence and the energy

WILL AND ACTION: the Blessing of the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ

      Testimony: apostles

 

ALMIGHTY IN THREE HYPOSTASIS (persons): The Holy Trinity : The Essence and the Energy are presented by nine lines distributed in cross-shaped position with widening in their ends. Depending on the concept of presentation they can vary and sometimes be reduced to three lines only starting from the upper part of the icon. They are always on the upper part of the icon above the presentation of the Testimony.

 

     or      

 

Graphical presentation of the will of the Holy Trinity

 

   Blessing of the Holy Ghost is painted depending on the appearance and action according to what is written in the Holy Scriptures (see Appearance of Holy Ghost, op. cit.)

Testimony is painted according to the description from the Holy Scriptures

 

In order to get deeper into the research of the icon painting it is necessary to pay attention to artistic elements; in other words, to composition of artistic elements (relations between forms, colors, dark-light, hues, expressions). Prior to that parallels between iconography and fine arts should be stated. There is an attitude that modern fine arts are alienated and have nothing in common with icons. The prediction that its end is close (Lecture of father Luke, prior of Cetinje Monastery, Vrnjacka Banja, December 2002) seems to harsh. More acceptable attitude is that fine arts are going to unite completely with icon in the end since it is it's basic root. This process of unification is going through fundamental examinations which can sometimes mislead and bypass the whole idea. However, the icon itself passed such temptations and has not freed itself completely from them yet (influence of baroque and tendency that beauty prevails exultation). First steps of fine arts towards the icon can be recognized in impressionism which frees the light from the object (light is an independent phenomenon in the presentation, the inner light, the light of God) which is the characteristic of the icon from the very beginning and traditionally presented through golden surface. These steps can be noticed in cubism which eliminates illusion of the third dimension and dislocates the point of perception, actually, using several points of perception of the space and object and axonometric perceptions as well (two dimensional expression on the flat painted surface is the truth that the icon incorporated in its expression from the very beginning. It can also be noticed in abstract art which eliminates the life of shadows and releases the colors from the objects (the color in the icon is completely free from the object and has abundant language of symbols and in that sense it acts independently). Such parallels can also be found in modern Serbian painting. The researches of the Mediala movement in the relation to pan-painting (universal painting by Leonid Shejka with centric position of a "cadis") directly originate from and have connection with well known composition principles of the icon presenting the life of a saint.

 

Thematic entirety is achieved by fine arts entirety (Andre Lott divided the work of fine art into fine art and thematic entirety and also established that fine art entirety survives only by appropriate application of fine art elements). This attitude directs our research towards ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW RELATIONS BETWEEN FINE ARTS ELEMENTS WITHIN THE ICON. Establishing new relations means neither finding the Truth nor reaching anything more than previously known and given, but to transfer evangelistic Message more essentially and clearly to contemporary human and to free the icon from all the elements that draw the attention from the Truth (like new attempts in spiritual music or literature to interpret the Holy Scriptures). Such statements as "Icons replace books to the illiterate" (Saint Basil the Great) and "Icons are placed in temples as means of religious education for those who can not or do no read the Holy Scriptures" (Saint Nile from the Sinai) certainly are correct but nowadays they should not be crucial and determinative for the icon. Pedagogical and informative dimension of the icon that was claimed by widely spread illiteracy of the Middle ages does not have to be in the center of attention today (narrative dimension of icon). Descriptive dimension and spiritual one are to be balanced. We are aware of the fact that this approach should be taken literally because icon-painting has more than once shown deeper Secrets than the words are able to make known. The testimony in the terms of a historic event need not be the central theme of the icon any longer. The life of Jesus Christ is wonderful and joyous and it proves the victory of God and love over evil and cruelty. In the icon one can find consolation, joy and compatibility with God. For that reason, icon should contain the element of emotion and motivation for opening one's hart. It must be totally clear to the reader of this text that the iconographer who studies the icon from inside always raises his soul's eyes to the primary image and his mind to that which is inapprehensible as it was said by Saint Sava about the true faith in Zica's sermon. He stated that every creative step must be confirmed and harmonized with the Evangelists Message in the same way his efforts directs icon message to be united more intimately and deeply with the hart of the believer.

 

"Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Book of Matthew, 24:42) is the law for the iconographer during the process of contemplating the icon, preparing himself for painting, praying, fasting and painting the icon, during the time he is being harmonized and reunited to the Church tradition by the appeasement.

 

 

 

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ANALYSIS OF ICONS I grasped the human face of God and my soul was saved (Saint John of Damascus)

 

Some suggestions and analysis of suggestions for the composition of icon are brought out here in accordance with previous considerations.

 

The Annunciation (14-th Century, Ohrid)

 

In the upper part of the icon the source of rays of blessing enlightening Virgin Mary can be seen and read. On the right side of the icon Angel Gabriel with unfolded wing just arrived bringing the news standing in the position of blessing in front of the one who is to receive the news about the bearing the Son. On the left side of the icon, Virgin Mary is sitting on the throne (she will become the Supreme Empress) with her hand raised expressing surprise about the Heavenly Might while being occupied with spinning (yarn is placed in her left hand). Human gesture of surprise is limited to her hand only as her whole figure shows Godly Appeasement. At the moment of receiving and accepting the Message, Virgin Mary receives the blessing of the Holy Ghost and remains permanently imbued with it. The holiness of Mary is expressed by her static pose, peace and steadiness. It should be noticed that time is excluded from this icon in accordance with previously stated meaning of depiction; it is excluded because the present and hereafter events are presented simultaneously. Vellum (red fabric symbolizing the interior) is placed above the throne pointing out to us that this moment is intimate and special. The background architecture is presented in axonometric view. The lines of reversed perspective bring us into the Holy Event (outward from icon and inward from the spectator).

 

The Annunciation (20-th Century, iconographer Jugoslav)

 

Giving and accepting the blessing is painted in accordance with the Holy Book with symbols, namely, in geometric red lines. The widening in their ends take over the symbolic meaning of reversed perspective, actually, they denote spreading the Message from the icon to the spectator due to the fact that architecture is repealed and replaced by absolute purity - white background. Icon retains titles and aureoles. Angel Gabriel and Holy Mary are present in the icon. The thematic essence of the icon is BRINGING AND RECEIVING THE HOLY NEWS.

 

Angel Gabriel: his attribute of the heavens might the wing is standing out in foreground. Holy Mary is enveloped by his wing, which means that the Holy Message is delivered. In vertical sense, the Angel is in the upper part of the icon painted in transparent and airy colors in contrast to the tip of the wing painted in heavy opaque contrasting brown (earth colors) which present his descension to mankind (envelopment of Holy Mary, possessiveness, embrace explain the delivery of the Message from the Heaven to the Earth. Holy Mary is sitting with her right hand raised in the sign of surprise retaining the same symbolic meaning as the one in the traditional presentation. Mother of God is sitting on the throne with her legs on the small support that symbolically means that it is all happening in our space and time. Gold color remains only in aureoles while the background is white. In that way the dimension of natural space is limited only to the support under her feet, which gives room to more complex symbolism, namely, white surfaces, clear, virgin, absolutely pure and sinless present the dimension of the Holiness. White color contains in itself in the best possible way spacelessness and timelessness, namely, the absolute and the eternal.

 

Overlapping, as an artistic element is not usually used in icons because the icon always presents the entire truth; here it is specially applied in front of the body of the Angel and it introduces us in the secrets of the Heavens Might. The Angel appeals to our mental perception only as much as God decided so.

 

What is excluded in our icon in relation to up to date presentations: the gesture of the Angel's hand blessing Virgin Mary. The Blessing is presented in two ways in the traditional presentations; not only through the gesture of the Angel but through the rays from the segment of mandorla as well (geometrically). As to their identical meaning, omission of one symbol is made. Architecture, throne and vellum are narrative elements and their omission do not disturb the essential idea of the icon The Annunciation. By these purifications the icon enhances clearer and more focused expression of the fundamental Message. The attention of both spectator and prayer is not distracted by any details and it stays fixed to the Message. The iconographer will not enter into eschatological dimension by excluding these narrative details because the Testimony and symbols of the Essential Message are balanced in such presentation.

 

What happens with the symbol (in this case the wing)? It is no longer static and descriptive but it becomes active (reminder: iconographer expresses the idea with the help of the world of symbols).

 

 

                                  

                                         

The Annunciation, (Ohrid), 14. century                                       The Annunciation, iconpainter Jugoslav, 60 x 40cm, 2004

 

 

 

Saint Petka (Paraskeva)

 

Look: Saint Petka (Paraskeva) by iconpainter Jugoslav, 60 x 48, 2003

 

 

How to reach the soul of Byzantine fine art: internal radiation of saint's light? Substance and form confine our perception of light. Once light frees itself from these two limitations it becomes immaterial and shapeless thus becoming penetrative and creative light of God. The icon explains how the above-mentioned liberation occurs. The described light can be presented only by a symbol and that symbol in the icon is the gold platted surface that surrounds the iconographed face. At that stage natural light turns into darkness and the internal light illuminates the real world making it comprehensible to us. There is a certain tendency to solve this problem by locating the sources of radiation on the face, on the very attribute of the saints, generally using one centric vertical. We have to keep in mind two elements: crucial objects should be arranged in the center of the icon and reversed perspective makes that present dynamics provoke and underline the impression of protruding towards the spectator. The efficiency of presenting the radiation of Godly Light towards his creations is the most beautiful act that one iconographer can create with talent received from God. Absolutely white color has sometimes been used in the background of the face instead of the gold platted surfaces, as can be seen on reproductions (see symbolism of colors, op. cit.). One example - proposition and one of the possible ways of presenting the internal light of the iconographed without the application of gold will be shown. Gold can be traditionally applied in that example - proposition but it neither changes the essence of the expression nor the message itself. For the presentation of more than one person there are no accurate directions in technical sense, where and how to locate the internal light.  Perhaps the analysis of the icon and centered composition with basic vertical might be of help in solving the problem. In the reproduction of the icon Saint Petka red color is predominant symbolizing the well-known connection with the martyrdom. This example shows how dominant color - symbol should be applied, how it serves the theme and how it solves the problems of internal radiation of the Saint.

 

It should be specially emphasized while painting the Saint's figure from the waist up, iconographer must pay special attention to the fact that his task is not only to express the radiation of light from the face but from the entire figure as well. The internal light is present in the Book and in the Cross (most often in the Saint's hand) and in the gesture or blessing as well. Therefore, the principle of transferring the message from the icon to the spectator must be applied to the entirety of the icon and accomplished by radiation (this refers to other presentations of festivals, biographies, achatistic etc.). In this manner the unity of entirety, namely, of the Holy scene is obtained. Radiation has its source in the central vertical line as a rule, almost always. This vertical could be disturbed if God's hand is present in the upper corner of the icon since it demands specific solution of light (see mandorla).

 

The prayer and the right approach to the icon will be of great help to the iconographer solving this difficult task. Presentations of events become unique entireties from Eshaton similar to the presentation of a single Saint, so the icon as a sacred object finds its place from Eshaton to real world (remainder remains that central vertical line originates from the basic composition of the icon - see Research in iconography).

 

The Crucifixion

 

The earliest example of the icon of Jesus Christ presented with closed eyes is the Crucifixion (7-th Century, Sinai) which suggests his suffering by body on the Cross. During the Middle Ages this expression of suffering will prevail which means that human nature of Jesus Christ becomes more dominant. So, human nature prevails the icon's message together with the presentation of the entire body. It is the matter of our interest how to achieve an equilibrium in this presentation and how to express the two natures of Jesus Christ on the Cross more completely.

 

The Crucifixion through centuries        

      

 

Sinai, 8-th century   Studenica, 13-th century    Ohrid, 13-th century

 

Here we have one of the comprehensive aspects of the Message of the Crucifixion, actually the possible interpretation of the Cross and the proposition of the answer to the previous question. Vertical axis is the Heavens Axis where God descends and takes bodily shape, namely, the Holy Face as the evidence of his presence. Our proposal-presentation of the icon Crucifixion originates from the presentation of the icon of the Holy Face (remainder: Theology of Icon, the very first icon is the one made by God himself and all the icons originate from that one which was not made by human hand). Starting from the bottom to the top of icon we can read: sin presented as Adam's skull (the blood of Jesus Christ washes off the Primal Sin) on the bottom, on the top the Heavenly Kingdom (God's hand in mandorla accepts the righteous souls) by and through Jesus Christ. The widening of the vertical axis can be noticed only in the upper sphere, which symbolizes the endlessness of the Heavens world. The Action and the Will of the Holy Trinity is there as well. The mandorla's dark center is interpreted and apprehended as incapability to comprehend God's light, which spreads and overpowers natural cognitive light. Spreading of the God's light is universal. In the case of the icon The Crucifixion within this universal spreading we will follow the spreading alongside the vertical and thereafter the horizontal axis. Cross-shaped gold platted surface confirms that this is the right approach (remainder: gold is a symbol of God's light in iconography). Therefore, we can read that God's Message expressed in the icon The Crucifixion, consists of the crucifixion not only in the physical sense but of entirety of the being as well.

 

The act of crucifixion implies separation and unification, recognition of polarities and reconciliation in the unity of polarities. Reconciliation is in the center of the Cross where equilibrium is, where the center of the entire world is, actually in the Holy Face. Reconciliation originates from the Crucifixion and emerges in belief (the more the poles are distant in the beginning, the better benefited the achievement in the equilibrium and the fate better founded as well). The gold platted Cross:  gold is the God's light so the Cross made by God is given to the mankind as the path sign. One of the numerous polarities (according to traditional expression of the Crucifixion) joy and sadness, day and night or rationality and emotion are given to us from God as a gift through his messengers: two angels above the horizontal axis. We will concentrate on the horizontal axis. This is the axis of the Earth, the axis of knowledge given to us from the time of Moses (the Old Testament) to the time of Saint John the Theologian (the New Testament - the Revelation). This axis presents our existence and cognition. It is meaningful only when crossed by vertical axis (to the sign of the Cross). Then we can talk about the contemplation (high level of recognition). The lower part of the icon is filled with the Festivals of our Lord as the historical testimony of the life of Jesus Christ and the life of the Mother of God. The Festivals begin with the Annunciation and end with the Ascension of the Mother of God. Mother of God is the first human being who ascended to the Heaven. By reading the Festivals of our Lord, namely by understanding the clear message at the end and also by tending to polarize, actually, by better understanding the most opposite poles within our living and finding reconciliation we contemplate Love, Fate and hope for the Salvation. The white background in our icon reveals and means purity, clearness and absoluteness of the Truth. The Crucifixion in its unity contains all the polarities, all the human doubts and torments. It calls for revelation of the crucified within self, for love, wisdom and benefaction. Once comprehended deep inside, the Crucifixion leads us to podobje - godlikeness (which means similarity with God). For that reason, in our icon of the Crucifixion, the crucified body of our Lord is not in the center of the cross (physical suffering) but the HOLY FACE, actually the very reason for crucifixion, accomplishing podobje - the godlikeness, similarity with God. 

 

Look The Crucifixion, iconographer by Jugoslav, 98 x 98 cm, 2003

The Icon of Orthodoxy

 

Another research of the composition of the icon is proposed here. The starting point in the creation of this icon was the traditional composition of Deisis as triptych. The right part of the triptych contains the Crucifixion presenting Body, Passion and Sacrifice. In the traditional presentation of Deisis Mother of God is present in this part; the first godlike human being. The connection between Deesis and the Icon of Orthodoxy is realized here by the presentation of God Man and his bodiliness and passion. The instruction given to us by God, crucifixion and solution of this human state, through bloodless sacrifice seems to us as a path to the Truth. The Holy Face, namely the Truth, is in the central position (in the traditional presentation Jesus Christ is presented on the throne). Left part of the triptych contains the Hand of God with righteous and accepted souls. Faith, Hope and Love. The left part of triptych, on traditional composition of Deesis contains the presentation of Saint John the Baptist, namely the one who announces the arrival of the Salvation. We have proposed the presentation of the symbol of Salvation, namely, a God's Hand holding righteous souls. In that way the symbol clearly announces Evangelistic Message. The illustrated triptych can be named the Icon of Orthodoxy.

 

 

 

The Icon of Orthodoxy, by iconpainter Jugoslav, triptiph 38 x 83cm, 2003