Origin and Tradition of the Icon
The word "icon" comes from the Greek "eikon" that means "image", or "portrait ". Nativity of Christ marks the birth of the icon.
The Word was made flesh, the Invisible became visible, God took a human face, a unique Face that is repeated through the
faces of the Mother of God and the saints who are bathed in the same uncreated light.
The byzantine icon is the result of prayerful meditation patiently created by generations of painters. It is the fruit of tradition
instead of being the result of an individual's intuition, impression, or abstraction. The iconographer is the instrument through
which a work is executed, hand-made, a work that goes beyond the individual. Nothing of the iconographer's state of mind or
sensuality should be in evidence in the image. In fact not even an individual signature is permitted to appear on the front of the
The Beauty of the Icon
The beauty of the hand made icon derives essentially from spiritual truth, therefore from the exactitude of symbolism and from
the necessity for contemplation and worship. Although the religious icon represents the human form transfigured by grace in a
stylized manner that respects realism, it never strives for naturalism. The person who is represented in any specific byzantine
icon always refers back to the prototype. The human body is never depicted as carnal in icons, but as transfigured. The terrestrial
becomes celestial in any byzantine religious icon
Icon - a Spiritualization of the World
The tendency to spiritualise is also clearly shown in the details in byzantine religious icons. Orthodox Icons are not intended
to represent nature as it appears to the eye : the rocks of the landscape appear to defy gravity and the vegetation seems to have
been created in heaven.
True function and realism in architecture are also suspended in the religious icon. Natural proportions are completely
ignored : doors and windows are often represented without taking into consideration realistic measurements.
The Face, Center of the Icon
The face is the central to the representation of a byzantine religious icon : it is the place of the presence of the Spirit of God.
The eyesdepicted in icons are a reflection of the heart that beckons to us. Illuminated by the vision of God, they communicate
the celestial message of greeting, mercy, truth and contemplation. Above the eyebrows, which reinforce the expression of the
eyes, rises the forehead, seat of wisdom and intelligence. Often very high, curved and spherical, the forehead in byzantine
religious iconssuggests the force of the spirit and the knowledge of the man of God. The nose is fine and elongated,
a sign of nobility. The nostrils are light and discrete, expressing an inner control of the passions. Without too much relief or too
much hollowness, the cheeks depicted in icons radiate interior light. Only those of the ascetics show deep wrinkles, outward
signs of prayer and fasting. The lips are very fine, without sensuality, specific thing in art of byzantine orthodox icons. They are
geometrical and always closed in the silence of contemplation. The ears listen to the divine word. The beard, thick and
generous, suggests the strength and serenity of the saint depicted in the religious icon.
Heads on byzantine religious icons are rarely done in profile. When they are they are awkwardly drawn and the profile
indicates that the character is less significant and perhaps even malicious.
. The perspective of importance of byzantine icons characters
Characters in the byzantine orthodox icons are highlighted based upon their importance in comparison to other characters
within the icon.
When looking at the icons of the Mother of God one may believe that what is missing from her face is a smile. And from a
certain perspective it would be reasonable to expect that she who is "Full of Grace" would express her joy at giving birth to the
Son of God with a smile.
This is not so in Byzantine iconography as Mary is represented in the presence of Divine Majesty, the second person of the
Holy Trinity, and thus she expresses with her whole being her respect and a certain "gravitas" because in her heart she knows
of the impending passion of her son.
This is not to imply that her expression reflects sadness or worry. Far from sadness, her face expresses in the icons the
qualities of interiority, the profundity of her mission and also her tender compassion toward mankind.
It is only through her Son that glory becomes evident and seems to eminate from the radiant garments that He wears. This
is in contrast to the red, brown, or dark blue clothing of Mary that expresses effacement, humility, and obedience to the will of
God A smile then would minimize the profound movements of Her soul and would emphasize naturalism over the trancendant
inner joy represented in her glance, her gesture, her countenance.
(thanks to and more about icons tehnique in:
www.atelier-st-andre.net ,a community of traditional byzantine iconographers)
The religious icons here are hand made in the genuine manner of Romanian orthodox style.
The approximate dimensions of a handmade icons in the gallery may vary from 22/17cm to 170/50cm
depending on each type and request. The common neo byzantine icon size are - height / width - 30/24 cm
( 11.8 /9.4 inch). You can e-mail and send a question for exact item dimension with the desired dimension.
The talent is the soul and the faith in God. Every handmade icon is unique, and is wearing the living soul
of Orthodox Christianity. The artist is dedicated to his work, because he is transmitting through his brushes,
in his hand made neo byzantine icon, the Faith and beauty of an tradition that last for ages in Romania.
From father to son, the art of painting Orthodox icons in Romania is a living flame that lives within the
tradition like a candle that illuminates the way through the darkness of life. I am not saying that romanian
artists are the greatest, but I can gladly say that they are the genuine ones, the simple and faithful ones that
painted great religious icons, orthodox monasteries and holly places among ages from Mircea The Old to
Vlad Tepes ( known as Dracula), or Stefan The Great though our modern times, here in Romania.
About Romanian Orthodox icons :
Browsing my hand made neo byzantine art gallery you will discover an impressive collection of religious
icons for sale.
All religious icons here are unique and hand made, painted by genuine hands. Apart from serving as religious
objects, the chriastian byzantine icons are appreciated by collectors all over the world for their artistic value
and their charm. Aside from being means of Christian veneration, the religious icons have an old tradition
as a collector's object and can be a beautiful gift as well almost in any ocasion.
The hand made icons are not necessarily collected for religious reasons, but for their intrinsic artistic value
and fine craftsmanship. You will find in my religious icons depicted Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Apostles, saints,
angels and religious events.