Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pentecost Icon

This new icon by Ikon Studios follows the ancient canons. The Twelve, who represent the Church because amongst them are St Paul and the Four Evangelists, sit as if in Council whilst the Holy Spirit descends on them. There is a space amongst them for Christ who is their absent, ascended head.
The king holding a sheet containing scrolls represents the Cosmos enveloped in the darkness of sin, awaiting salvation, the scrolls represent the teaching of the Apostles, which in a sense are already in the heart of the world but veiled by the sheet.
The artist here has rays of light emanating from the Church directed to their mission.
It is worth meditating on the relationship of the Church and its mission in this icon, the mission is central and yet the life of Church continues around it.


Patricius said...

May I ask precisely which ancient canons, Father? That it may be about the Church I can accept but the presence of some anonymous "king" as well as that of St. Paul together with the absence of the tongues of fire suggest that this is not Pentecost. Indeed in most depictions of the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles Our Lady is also shown although in some examples, eg. the Giotto panel in the National Gallery, she is not. Sometimes descriptions of icons and what they actually represent seem somewhat tenuous to say the least and one is led to suspect that, as with some modern art. the Emperor's clothes are a queer fit. Might not this icon be derived from a model which sought to promote a role for the emperor within the Church?

Fr Ray Blake said...

"Ancient Canons" = those synodial lists governing the picturing of sacred images drawn up, to ensure orthodoxy, after the defeat of iconoclasm.
The picturing of the BVM at Penrecost is late and western, I believe.

Pastor in Valle said...

I too wanted to ask where our Lady is. The implication of Acts 1:14 is that she was there.

maureen said...

This is the traditional Orthodox Christian icon displayed and venerated on Pentecost.

True Orthodox iconographers follow canons which
keep too much of the personality of the iconographer from showing through or too much sentimentality, while maintaining the truth of our salvation. They have their own symbolic language.

The Theotokos is always seen in icons in relation to her son, which would explain why she is not seen in this icon. The icon of her on the royal doors on an Orthodox church depict her alone but her hands are directing us to the sanctuary.

Icons are an acquired taste - they take time to get to know.