Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Truth of an Icon

"Thus we have this rather strange aspect of icons. They are eschatological representations. They not only show us what happened (if we’re talking about a Biblical scene) but also show us what that scene means in its fullest and final sense. Saints are not painted as they might have appeared in life, but in an eschatological fashion representing how they shall be in the age to come (at least this is what the intention is behind many stylistic aspects of an icon). They are thin (not heavy and of the earth); their senses are either deemphasized (small ears, small mouth, thin and elongated hands) because they are turned inward to the heart; or overemphasized (large eyes and enlarged forehead) representing heavenly vision and wisdom. They are always presented to us face-to-face, never in profile, for the truth of who they are is only to be known personally (hypostatically) in relationsip, never as a merely existing object. This last aspect is quite notable in the resurrection appearances of Christ. He cannot be objectified." - Fr. Stephen Freeman

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