FOTOART ARTICLES ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART
FOTOART WEBPAGE ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART
FOTOART - PHOTOGRAPHY  INDEX

HOME GALLERY HISTORY TECHNIQUE ARTICLES NEWS BOOKS EDUCATION INTERNET MARKET CONTACT BACK

BYZANTINE ICONOGRAPHY TODAY ….AN ART OR NOT ?

Iconography today, as an art and as an approach to our faith, its course throughout the modern world and its perspective, is something that preoccupies me and puzzles me as a human being serving this art I would like to point out some things which are a personal thesaurus of experiences and knowledge.


The knowledge of tradition as well as the techniques of the great masters of iconography in the past, are for me the basis and the motive to further progress. At the beginning of our century, the return to the Byzantine art was of great interest. Today our feelings are those of indifference and apathy! I should say that Byzantine art of today is at risk of losing its admirers among the literary artists and the people of church.
What is most important for me as an iconographer is to conceive the tragic life of a Saint whom I then picture and try to transfer it to the expression of his face and body so that the result would state that the depicted person is a sanctified human being. Only in this way does the art of iconography become interesting. It is otherwise self-abolished when it just copies older prototypes and techniques in the pretext that it maintains the historic values of iconography.


The claim that coping the old models due to history and tradition, is not sound and adequate, neither was it in the past so that it could make iconography a form of “ living art! This tactics, as we can see, has weakened it and made it a non – real form of art.
It led it to a stalemate and it is simply copying. That is why the contemporary orthodox iconography is not considered an art by a great number of people but just copies of works of art. So like every other form of art iconography has to follow the demands of its time which means to believe,
to collect and realize the needs ( spiritual, social, personal ) of the contemporary people and of the society in extent, without changing its theological and social character. This has save and will save iconography.


There are several rules ( theological and aesthetic ) in iconography, which we must respect and keep. The Byzantine ecclesiastic painting was not monolithic. It has a developing course. It took elements from other forms of art, it remolded them pictorially and proved them theologically. A very strong example is the excellent work of those artists who opened a new road in painting based on the same theological basis. It is easily recognizable by all of them but also by the history of Byzantine art such as : Panselinos, Michael and Eutychios Astrapas, Theophanis the Greek, Theophanis the Cretan, Andrey Rublov e.t.c.
Of course, one could wonder whether the modernization of the orthodox iconography questions its authenticity. But the same developing course of the orthodox iconography in the Byzantine era shows that despite the fact that such a risk is possible, it won’t necessarily happen. The orthodox iconography can also adopt new and purely decorative artistic elements without losing its orthodox appearance. The influence of the ancient greek aesthetics, as well as the Fayoum portraits, in the Byzantine painting, is obvious but this does not mean that the orthodox iconography is lost. The “ orthodoxy “ of a artistic work depends on the knowledge of theology on the part of the creator and its imprinting in the form of an icon. Iconography is bound to be accessible to contemporary believers. In an age of lack of communication and love, where there is so much loneliness, Saints have to look like ourselves, be more tangible, be our friends and our consolation. Only through such a relationship can we come closer to God. The artist has to send the message that the depicted person opposite him, once used to be a human being like everybody else, but with the love of Jesus as a guide, managed to obtain saintness and the elevation of human nature itself.
Each one of us has to stop and think that iconography is not just a worship medium but also ART, which must be primarily concerned about aesthetics and artistic details than just confine himself to copying old prototypes. He who will manage to compine all the above and put them in his work creatively, will begin to open a personal way of expression (style), or at least he will have set a new target to that direction, a fact which can be characterized as one of the most important things in pursuit-if not the most important-for a consiencious artist. I honestly believe in this and through my work I try to fulfill this difficult task.

Iconographer

Sotirios Panailidis

Website: www.theiconart.gr

FOTOART - PHOTOGRAPHY © 2001-2007 FOTOART ALL RIGHTS RESERVED