No more "writing" Icons, we paint them!

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Writers write, but painters -who are not that articulate (in fact most of us have a problem expressing ourselves verbally and that is why we resort in painting pictures in the first place) paint.

The whole story of "writing...." started from the exact translation of the word used for painting icons in Russian language , and its been there with us ever since. I can understand that people are using the expression "write icons' in order to add some value , an extra "weight" to the process of painting religious figures, creating images of liturgical use,but it gives a somehow innacurate picture of what an icon painter is: A craftsman/woman that focuses on sacred art  (and in our case Christian art)

An Icon painter has to undergo extensive training in drawing, and rendering volume and figures, using light and shadows , to study colors and mediums and surfaces  as all painters do- Furthermore he/she has got to study the historic context,  tradition, representations, theological terms and concepts of the themes he/she is working on.

Another word for painting icons in my native language, Greek, is "historein" which means, telling the history, narrating a story, and that is also "poetic" 'cause in the end,  painters paint!

No wonder some of the most remarkable painters of the Cretan school of iconography (to name  Angelos Pitzamanos - Wikipedia or even the maker of some of the most known pieces of Byzantine Art Angelos Akotantos - Wikipedia) when signing their work , they were using the latin amendment "pinxit (like the signature in the attached image "Angelus pinxit"- Angelos has painted it)

So please: No more "writing" Icons, we paint them!

**** The image is from a work attributed to Angelos Akotantos found in Bruck Auctions: Brunk Auctions, valuable info was found in Pinxit - Wikipedia

 

Comments

Thank you for this

Thank you for this refreshingly straightforward explanation of why icons are painted and not written!

It bugs me to see, when people claim that they are “writing an icon”.

When writing you use letters to shape words and phrases to grasp thoughts, emotions and ideas and share them with others.

Painting icons is so much more, as you’ve eloquently explained in your blog.

Your sincerely Jens

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