Iconography: history & theology
1.
2.
3.
The beginnings of Christian
art: from the catacombs to
basilicas.
Iconoclastic Controversy.
The functions of images in
the Church.
Transfiguration. Apse mosaic,
St Catherine's Monastery,
Mount Sinai. c. 565/6.
The earliest image of Mary with Christ Child and unidentified
Prophet (?). Catacomb of Priscilla, late 2nd (?)- early 3rd c.
Cryptic art of the catacombs
6 Sinai Christ
Catacomb of Domitilla. Rome. 3rd c.
Good Shepherd.
Catacomb of Domitilla. Rome. 3rd c.
Christ teaching apostles
Catacomb of Domitilla. Rome. 3rd c.
This is Plotinus and
his students
And this is…
Church of St Julia,
Brescia. Ivory panel. ca.
360-70.
Jesus Raising Lazarus. Via Latina Catacomb, Rome.
This is Jesus too (believe it or not)
Rome, Museo Nazionale Delle Terme, ca. 350.
Christ surrounded by apostles
Basilica of St Pudenziana, Rome, ca. 400.
Youthful Christ
Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, 522-47.
One of the earliest illuminated manuscripts
Communion. Rossano Gospels. 6th c.
Sinai icon compared to the negative of the image on the Shroud of Turin
The Dominant Image in the Byzantine period
Christ Pantokrator. Hagia Sophia, Instanbul, ca. 1185
What did Jesus really look like?
Reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm
Reaction to the loss of Eastern provinces to the Arabs
Reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm
Reaction to the loss of Eastern provinces to the Arabs
Impact of Islam upon Emperor Leo III
Dome of Blue Mosque. Istanbul, Turkey.
Emperor’s attempt to break the power of the
monastic institutions
Reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm in the 8th c.
• Emperor’s attempt to break the power of the monastic
institutions (Peter Brown)
• Reaction to the loss of the Eastern provinces to the
Arabs
• Impact of Islam upon Emperor Leo III
Possible Jewish influences?
Binding of Isaac. Floor mosaic. Synagogue of Beth Alpha, c. 518 C.E.
Iconoclastic council in 754
Iconoclasts destroying icons. Chludov Psalter c. 850-75.
S
Partial Iconoclasm (?). Chapel near
Trigonian Tower, Thessaloniki, late
11th-early 12th c.
The Cross, after 740. Apse
mosaic. St Irene, Istanbul.
The Theotokos and Child
(replacing a cross) 787-97
and 11th cent. Apse mosaic.
St Sophia, Thessaloniki.
Iconoclastic controversy timeline
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726 Emperor Leo III (717-741) issues a ban on all
religious imagery
754 Iconoclastic council summoned in Constantinople
under Constantine V, son of Leo III.
787 Second Council of Nicaea, with the support of the
Empress Irene, defends the use of icons.
813 Leo V revives iconoclasm, opposed by Theodore
the Studite.
820 Michael II assassinates Leo V and adopts policy of
toleration
843 Iconoclastic period ends. Veneration of icons
established under patriarch Theophilus. Empress
Theodora promotes the restoration of icons.
Empress Irene. Pala
d’Oro. Venice, 10th c.
Christ flanked by Empress Zoe and her (third) husband
John of Damascus (675-749)
• Brought up at the court of
the caliph of Damascus
• Resigned his position and
entered monastery of St.
Sabbas c. 726
• Wrote On the Orthodox
Faith
• Defended icons
Functions of Icons in the Church 1:
“The Bible for the illiterate”
Functions of Icons in the Church 2:
Means of remembrance
Functions of Icons in the Church 3:
Theology in Color
Functions of Icons in the Church 4:
Windows into the Kingdom of Heaven
Sketch of the Iconostasis of St Seraphim’s Cathedral, Dallas, TX
St Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, Texas
Functions of Icons in the Church:
Summary
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“The Bible for the illiterate”
Means of remembrance
Theology in color
Windows into the kingdom of heaven
“Crutches of prayer”
The Christ of the Seven Ecumenical Councils
7: UNITY IN ICONOGRAPHY
6: DISTINCTION OF WILLS
5: UNITY-IN-DISTINCTION
4: DISTINCTION OF DIVINITY & HUMANITY
3: UNITY OF DIVINITY AND HUMANITY
2: FULL HUMANITY
1: FULL DIVINITY
Dr. Gavrilyuk’s Iconoclasm Meter
Any candidates
for contemp.
iconoclasts?
Quakers
Muslims
Jews
Calvin
Luther
Anglicans
Methodists
Eastern
Orthodox
Roman
Catholics
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Icons and Iconoclasm - University of St. Thomas