Catholic World Art
Artist, Ira Thomas
 
Icon
 
This is not an original painting. It is an icon patterned after Our Lady of Kazan. What is an icon and how is it different from my other paintings?

The icon is a formal, stylized, liturgical image that is said to be ‘written’, not painted, which developed in eastern churches. It must follow certain regulations because it is not the expression of one artist but of the whole church. My other paintings are my own interpretation of Christian realities.

What a hymn is to Christian music, an icon is to religious painting.

Preparation of the wood board and the technique in painting becomes a meditative process.

The iconographer applies dark shades of color first, which are then layered in lighter shades, to show that God does not remove darkness but transforms it. The light itself does not come from an outside source but is emitted from within the holy figure portrayed, often in circular shapes since the circle is a symbol of eternity. The use of pure gold leaf is a reminder of eternal light.

Drapery on the figures does not hang by its own weight. Its form is produced by the circular lighting around every joint as though every joint itself is a center of life. The eyes are usually large and the mouths small, because holy people see well with divine wisdom and speak little but holy words.

The perspective in icons is deliberately counter to how we view things as it is rendered from God’s perspective. It becomes a window through which God and the saints are in communion with us while we respond in silent awe. In its mysterious beauty, the icon invites us to contemplate God and brings us into relationship with Him. It is a sacred object.
 

Copyright 2002-2018 - Ira Thomas
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