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For Icon Writers

Discussion in 'St. Justin Martyr's Corner: Debate an Orthodox Chr' started by Eucharisted, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Eucharisted

    Eucharisted New Member

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    Do you think God wrote the Incarnation?
     
  2. Joshua G.

    Joshua G. Active Member

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    I know I am not an iconographer... but what does that question mean?
     
  3. Eucharisted

    Eucharisted New Member

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    Well, you Orthodox believe icon writers write icons, right? And icons are made because the Icon of God became incarnate, right? So, would God have written the Incarnation?
     
  4. nutroll

    nutroll Veteran

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    There are some people who will insist that icons are "written" rather than "painted" but it is not an Orthodox belief. There are those who have developed a pious custom out of a mistranslation. In Greek, the word used for "paint" is the same as for "write" and so to distinguish between ordinary painting and icon-painting, some people insist on using the wrong word just to make the distinction clear. As an iconographer, I tell people that I paint icons. I use paints as a medium, I use paint brushes, and I move those brushes in a similar way to other painters. I see no value in calling this process "writing." With that said, your question can't really be taken seriously.
     
  5. ikonographics

    ikonographics In patience I waited patiently on the Lord

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    "Writing" icons is an Americanism. This article explains why Icons are not "written"
    Otherwise as Nutroll says, your question makes no sense whatsoever. The Word didn't become incarnate as a piece of wood with paint on it. You cannot compare the incarnation to the manner in which an icon is painted.
     
  6. Joshua G.

    Joshua G. Active Member

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    Okay fine... then change the op's question to: Did God paint the incarnation? It's good that he was corrected (I never knew this... I was always told they were written and the explanation made... well, a lot of sense to me. But fine... paint, color... whatever) but now let's try to answer his question rather than dismissing it simply because he (understandably) used the less preferred term.

    I'm not an iconographer, but this is what I would say. It's important to distinguish between what an iconographer does and what God does. The iconographer represents something that has already happened or is happening through painting. They don't make it happen. They give us a mystical window into that event or that person.

    On the other hand, God creates those events and people. God doesn't represent them through other media.
     
  7. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    Matt and I do not always agree on many things, but I am with him on this matter.
     
  8. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    What an iconographer does, the iconographer does through God. The iconographer may be the painter who paints the icon, but it is always God who moves the iconographer to do his/her work. You really can not draw a line between what the iconographer does and what God does because there is a symbiosis there. What each does is equally important to the process of creating an icon and they are not inseparable from each other. Do not attempt to draw false distinctions that really do not exist.
     
  9. Eucharisted

    Eucharisted New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies!
     
    Joshua G. likes this.
  10. Joshua G.

    Joshua G. Active Member

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    THat's an important point Michael. BUt surely you and I agree that there is a difference between the actual creation and the icon of the creation. The icon (because of God's work through the icon painter) is mystically connected to that event, but it is not the event itself. Right? I mean, we agree on that, I would imagine.

    I apologize if I wasn't clear enough in my last post.
     
  11. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    There is a difference between the icon of the creation and the actual creation itself. However, my priest has made it quite clear to me that whenever an iconographer paints/writes an icon he/she is partaking in the act of creation with God.
     
  12. Joshua G.

    Joshua G. Active Member

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    Exactly. I was just trying to make that first point. Certainly, however, the point you've added on is very important to understand what true iconography is.
     
  13. MKJ

    MKJ Contributor

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    Hmm. Could you expand on that. I take it you mean more than that the iconographer is, in creating the icon, drawing the truth contained in it from the truth of the actual creation?

    I'm not sure if I'm being clear, so I'll give a slightly different example: If I see, say, an artistic depiction, in writing, paint, dance, or whatever, if it is good it contains some or a lot of truth about whatever subject it is about. That truth is from God, so in the creation of, or perhaps even participation in the artistic work, one is in some sense participating in God and God's Truth.

    I understand you to be saying something different than this?
     
  14. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    God is the creater of all things. Only God can think "let there be a dog" and a dog comes into existence. Man can not do this. Christ left his face on the Mandylion which he sent to King Abgar of Edessa simply because he wanted to, and he could do this because he is God.

    Man does not create in the pure sense of the word. Man makes things, but he must use what God has given him to make something. Man must use the skills that God has given him, he must use the tools which God has given him and the materials God has supplied as well.

    Thus when an icon is written, God is the source of that icon. The tool that God almost always uses to creat an icon is Man. This is not always the case, as with the multiple copies of the Mandylion not made by hands that do exist, but it is the general rule. God inspires the iconographer to pray and write the icon and the iconographer does as God moves him to do. Thus there is a concerted effort there, a symbiosis.

    Does this make my explanation more clear to you?
     
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