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Icon

icons images byzantine century

The term icon comes from the Greek eikon , which means “image.” More specifically, icons are images of holy figures, most often on painted panels, but they may also be created in mosaic, fresco, ivory, and other media. The tradition may ultimately derive from ancient/classical portraiture (especially of imperial or deceased persons). Icons were produced in the Byzantine world from at least the fifth century, although the majority of surviving examples date from the ninth century onward (after the Iconoclastic Controversy). These holy images play a critical role in Byzantine liturgy and worship, both public and private. They serve as objects of devotion and instruction and are popularly believed to possess special powers of healing and protecting. The sacred quality of the images and the tradition that the earliest icons were sanctioned by *God (e.g., the first portrait of the Virgin *Mary as * Theotokos , Mother of God, was painted by Saint *Luke, and the miraculous impression of *Christ’s face on the veil of Saint *Veronica was an * acheiropoieta —image made without human hands) resulted to a large extent in the copying of specific, codified images, and a certain standardization of types through the centuries. The process of creating icons is, in itself, regarded as a spiritual activity. In the Byzantine church, icons are displayed on the *iconostasis screen; veneration involves prostration (proskynesis) before the images. For specific types,
Iconoclastic Controversy [next] [back] Ice T (1969–)

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