Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

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Barbara
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Barbara » Tue 13 January 2015 3:34 am

Yes, surely so.

[ I still like the violet robe on the Child, which faintly looks like a boysenberry sherbet or ice cream ! ]

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Maria
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Maria » Tue 13 January 2015 4:22 am

Barbara wrote:Yes, surely so.

[ I still like the violet robe on the Child, which faintly looks like a boysenberry sherbet or ice cream ! ]


Oh, now you are making me hungry!

I like both icons, but the second one seems more Byzantine with the Stars on the robe of the Theotokos representing her perpetual virginity on the forehead and both shoulders (by implication).
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Handmaiden50 » Wed 14 January 2015 7:45 pm

I have a copy of this (Bouguereau's "L'Innocence") at home, which I purchased several months ago. I really, really love it but, again it is more Roman Catholic looking. To be honest, I am drawn to Panagia more through this rather than a more traditional Byzantine-type icon. Maybe it is because I was raise RC before becoming a Protestant. I had it up in my prayer corner but then took it down, 'cause I wasn't sure if it was "Orthodox" for me to have up.
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Maria » Thu 15 January 2015 12:54 am

While the above piece of art is very "romantic" in style, and could give us an indication of what country life might have been like inside the dwelling of St. Joseph and Holy Mary in Egypt, it was the custom in the time of Christ for women to wear headcoverings and not let any of their hair or body show. Otherwise, such a woman might have been mistaken as a prostitute. Therefore, it would have been not only inappropriate but also very immodest for the Theotokos to be seen in public not wearing a head covering.

As I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church since infancy, I was quite familiar with its modern western art, and the varied expressions of it. However, I found it increasingly difficult to pray with a statue of a Virgin with a very pregnant abdomen, hair flowing from her partially covered hair, and makeup. When I first came into Orthodoxy, I instantaneously fell in love with the Byzantine style of Iconography that depicted the Theotokos as the ever-Virgin, Holy Lady, and Mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ.

The iconographic style is neither realistic nor natural, and it takes some getting used to as the expressions are met to show sobriety and saintliness. The iconographic style helps us to venerate the iconic image presented as a representation of the Saint beyond the image. We call icons "Windows into Heaven" for this reason.
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Barbara
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Barbara » Thu 15 January 2015 1:14 am

Maria,
I didn't notice that the Ukrainian Icon is missing the Stars ! Good point. I always like seeing those.
You said : "Both shoulders [by implication]". You mean by that the one shoulder which is out of our view has
a Star, too ? I didn't realize that ! Thanks, I love learning new facets of iconography and the religion in general.

Handmaiden -
Oh, aha. That is a VERY tasteful depiction of Her. That painter was probably the best, I like him even better than
Raphael, though I always liked Raphael's religious paintings too. Far better than the art of what is popularly viewed as genius, for example, the work of Michelangelo.
No matter how many times that theme is repeated by tour guides to the Sistine Chapel or Gardiner's Art Through the Ages, I can't bring myself to like his work. It's just not beautiful [to me] !!

In contrast, Bouguereau has always appealed to me the most of any European painter. I only discovered him when I found a volume on a Catholic cemetery in Southern California at a secondhand store elsewhere which showed a picture of "Song of the Angels on the back." I was riveted by that graceful work of art and studied up on the artist.

However, these 2 paintings have been a little trivialized because of being copied everywhere these days [ probably due to no copyright infringements in publishing them, I have assumed. ]

Nonetheless, a Priest will tell you better.

If it were up to me, I would urge you to keep that print up. What's important is the fostering of great love and devotion to the Heavenly Queen in your heart and soul !
It is ONLY NATURAL that you would gravitate to this first.

Later you will come to appreciate the Byzantine style, as well. It takes time, honestly.
I am glad you pointed this out, because many, many potential converts struggle with this question. But are afraid to
bring it up when, especially, more seasoned Orthodox converts tend to snap a bit that only the classic Byzantine style is acceptable. This isn't wise, for any sensitive soul will feel berated and not want to stay in the parish after perhaps a sharply-worded lecture on what really is in fact a personal subject.

You won't find Bouguereau in the farthest corner of an Orthodox Church hall ! But at your own home, why not keep whatever image best suits you ? There is not an inspection squad to deride your choice and tear it down, after all !
Only if your Greek priest comes there for a house blessing at Epiphany [Theophany] would a member of the clergy see the French print.

As you go along, you will want to put also Icons that appeal to you. Do you know how many there are of the Heavenly Queen ? So many fascinating titles and images ! Such as, "The Mother of God, Softener of Evil Hearts". It is similar to a Catholic image of Our Lady of Sorrows, with the swords.

You know, Mary Jo, I have an idea. Maybe you should go back through the Archives of Orthodox America.
This was an English-language newspaper with zillions of edifying articles. There was always a column in each issue
about a particular icon, some obscure. That is the easiest way to learn about the myriad of Icons of the Mother of God. Usually some of the history of each is given, so you can take in a lot of valuable information.
These were all transcribed to digital format. So you can view the Archives on line and skim through.
There are many interesting articles on the Church life of Rocor in the 80s and 90s, maybe even into the 2000s.

There is the comforting "Surety of Sinners" which was the Cathedral in Shanghai where St John Maximovitch served in the 1930s.
Or the optimistically-named "Joy of All Who Sorrow" which is the name of the Cathedral which he helped finish build in
S.F. in the mid- 1960s.
These names are so picturesque that I think you will be drawn in more deeply this way into acceptance of traditional icons, once you know the concept which is represented and the symbolism of various elements.

Otherwise, it is very confusing to be confronted with all at once !! That is understandable to not feel in rapport with the Queen of Heaven as She is shown in traditional icons.

Feel free to express whatever you are thinking like you did here.
There CAN be too much of a feeling of being regimented and pressured, as if new inquirers already have a sea of knowledge and experience with Orthodoxy ! We hope to counterract that here at this Forum by being understanding and supportive, rather than overly strict.

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Isaakos
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Isaakos » Sat 17 January 2015 7:01 am

I think it is interesting what you find in the Cells of the saints who reposed. Have you seen the inside of St Theophan the Recluse's cell? He drew a Very western Portrait of Christ that he put in there. I have it in the Book, "The Path to Salvation."

Also, in the Cell of St Matthew the New Confessor are western style icons, and "westernized" icons and byzantine Icons. It seems the saints did not make the issue of this that many of us do.
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Archimandrit Nilos
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Archimandrit Nilos » Thu 19 February 2015 10:06 am

Yes, Western Icons in the cell of St-Mathew the New Confessor. This fact says all !!


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