Anastasis, 14th century, Icons
Art,  English

A representative selection of ICONS from the 11th century to the late Baroque period

Introduction video credit: Baptism Christian Religion Video of Vimeo Free Videos from Pixabay

The text below is the excerpt of the book Icons (ASIN: 1646996097), written by Nikodim Pavlovich Kondakov, published by Parkstone International.

Among graphic arts, the icon took first place in Russian life. Apart from the early Novgorod wall-painting, we may call the icon the chief expression of religious thought and popular feeling as early as the fourteenth century. Later, when wall-painting became subordinate to icon-painting, the icon became the one and only symbol of faith. In view of its special significance and its derivation from the Byzantine model, the Russian icon takes its place as the continuation of a high artistic tradition and in its development offers an unparalleled example of artistic craftsmanship. In its decorative qualities, the uniqueness of its composition, the severity of its types, the ideal character and spiritual depth of the religious thought it conveyed, the icon is to be compared with the early period of religious art in Western Europe.

Our Lady Hodegetria (Doublesided Icon), 12th century, Icons
Our Lady Hodegetria (Doublesided Icon), 12th century. Byzantine Museum, Kastoria, Macedonia.

Besides this, the historian of art must bear in mind that the easel-picture arose over time from the icon. They must make every effort to comprehend the artform of the Russian icon in order to understand the historical traditions lying behind easel painting and influencing it to this day. Finally, from the early eighteenth century to the present day, the Russian icon has long existed as a handicraft or kustár’ product.

As such, icons deserve the attention of art historians, for artistic handicrafts present difficult and complicated problems to historical interpretation which, for such reasons, have long been avoided. The time has come for Russian archaeology to study Russian icon-painting and trace through this particular phenomenon’s five centuries of history. Three centuries of neglect beginning with Peter the Great have sundered the Russian people from the last flourishing period of this artform and destroyed a greater number of icons than all the town fires and devastations in the Russian countryside combined.

The Annunciation, The Virgin, 18th to 19th century, Icons
The Annunciation, The Virgin, 18th to 19th century. Church of the Peribleptos of Ohrid (now Church of St Clement), Macedonia.

Inventories tell us just how rich in icons the Russian cathedrals, monasteries, and private houses once were and also demonstrate the Muscovites’ reverence before ancient and hallowed icons. With great precision, these documents allow us to follow the disappearance of icons from Russian churches since the eighteenth century. Even as late as the early nineteenth century the Moscow churches were full of ancient sacred objects. The walls of the monasteries were hung with ‘Votive’ and ‘Festival’ icons and the outer chapels with panels of the saints of the calendar (Menaea).

The Annunciation of Ustyug, Novgorod School, end of the 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century, Icons
The Annunciation of Ustyug, Novgorod School, end of the 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century. From Saint George’s Monastery at Novgorod. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

As people ceased to care for them, forgot about them and no longer looked after them (and they require constant repair), they were put into storage – and that meant destruction for many of the best icons. It was in the face of this destruction that there appeared all sorts of imitation work on tinfoil (fólezhnoe), podubórnoe, paper, and other materials of the cheapest sort.

Icon-painting hid itself in the depths of the country: at Suzdal’ and in the Súzdal’ district there arose whole settlements of icon-painters, Mstëra, Palëkh, and Khóluy, but of these Palëkh and Khóluy had already adopted the ‘Frankish’ style and ‘naturalistic’ painting (zhívopis’). Little Russia had rude ‘naturalistic’ icons as early as the seventeenth century: the success of Borovikóvski’s talent attracted general attention…

The Archangel Gabriel (the Golden-Haired Angel), 12th century, Icons
The Archangel Gabriel (the Golden-Haired Angel), 12th century. 48 x 239 cm. The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

To get a better insight into Icons, please continue this exciting adventure by clicking on Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon AustraliaAmazon FrenchAmazon GermanAmazon MexicoAmazon ItalyAmazon SpainAmazon CanadaAmazon JapanAmazon IndiaAmazon NetherlandsParkstone InternationalEbook Gallery, KoboBarnes & NobleGoogleAppleScribdOverdriveBookbeatEllibs

Parkstone International is an international publishing house specializing in art books. Our books are published in 23 languages and distributed worldwide. In addition to printed material, Parkstone has started distributing its titles in digital format through e-book platforms all over the world as well as through applications for iOS and Android. Our titles include a large range of subjects such as: Religion in Art, Architecture, Asian Art, Fine Arts, Erotic Art, Famous Artists, Fashion, Photography, Art Movements, Art for Children.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
%d bloggers like this: