The Meaning of Icons

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The Meaning of Icons

The Meaning of Icons

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The Meaning of Icons

The nature of the icon cannot be grasped by means of pure art criticism, nor by the adoption of a sentimental point of view. Its forms are based on the wisdom contained in the liturgical writings of the Orthodox Church and are intimately bound up with the experience of the contemplative life. The present work is the first of its kind to give a reliable introduction to the spiritual background of this art.

The introduction into the meaning and the language of the icons by Ouspensky imparts to us in an admirable way the spiritual conceptions of the Othodox Church which are often so foreign to us, but without the knowledge of which we cannot possibly understand the world of the icon.

"It is not the purpose of the icon to touch its contemplator. Neither is it its purpose to recall one or the other human experience of natural life; it is meant to lead every human sentiment as well as reason and all other qualities of human nature on the way to illumination." "The entire visible world as depicted in the icon is to foreshadow the coming Unity of the whole of creation, of the Kingdom of the Holy Ghost."

The theological justification of the icon was derived by the Seventh Ecumenical Council from the fact of the Incarnation of God. God became human for the elevation and deification of Man. This deification becomes visible in the Saints. The Byzantine theologian often sets the calling of an icon-painter on as equal level with that of a priest. Devoted to the service of a more sublime reality, he exercises his objective duty the same way as the liturgical priest. The "spiritual genuineness" of the icon, the cryptic, almost sacral power to convince, is not alone due to accurate observance of the iconographic canon, but also to the ascetic fervor of the painter.

A section on the technique of icon-painting is followed by the main part of the book, in which the author describes the most important types of icons. There is a detailed description of the icon screen (ikonostas), as well as 58 other icons, including ten different representations of the Most Holy Theotokos Maria.

Paperback. 5th edition 1999. 219 Pages. 22.5 x 30 cms. In good condition.

Additional Information

Author Leonid Ouspensky & Vladimir Lossky
Pages 219
Cover Soft
Width (mm) 225
Height (mm) 300

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