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Byzantine and Russian Orthodox icons are perhaps the most enduring form of religious art ever developed--and one of the most mysterious. This book, featuring the painted panels made for churches and for prayer at home, provides an accessible guide to their story and power. Illustrated mostly with Cretan, Greek, and Russian examples from the British Museum, which houses Britain's most important collection of icons, the book examines icons in the context of the history of Christianity, as well as within the perspective of art history.
Robin Cormack, a preeminent expert on the subject, explains how icons were made, framed, and displayed. He investigates their subject matter, showing how scenes can be identified, how the iconography developed over centuries, and what role portraiture plays in their imagery. Icons have not lost their power in much of the world, and Cormack considers their continuing use in our day--whether in a religious setting or as an inspiration to modern-day artists like Matisse.
A uniquely accessible and authoritative introduction to this distinctive art form, Icons defines its subject's unusual place at the intersection of religion, Russian culture, and art history.
Posted April 10, 2010
This book carefully relates the history, production techniques, and subject matter of the religious Icon staring from Constantinople to the recent centuries. It is not a particularly religious book, but it really helped me see how Icons are meant to help reveal the various mysteries and spiritual personae of Christianity. The Illustrations are first rate. They were carefully selected by the author from the collection of the British Museum. ( a complete cataloue of their Icon holdings is included within). The text sometimes gets ahead of the illutrations and that made for interruptions in smooth reading. However, I found the author's artistic insight, as well as his historical knowledge made this book a great reference and a good start for anyuone interested in the subject matter.
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Posted January 31, 2011
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