Catholic Iconographer Struggles

I am working on a icon of St. Anthony of Padua, and found this older post still relevant and applicable. I’ve narrowed it down to 2 drawings, neither one is just right.


There is a certain amount of confusion in being an iconographer, especially a Catholic one.  The icon is doctrinal and theological, and is the Eastern Church’s liturgical art.  The Western church long ago turned to self expression and individual interpretation, and largely regards artwork as decorative rather than part of the liturgy.  As Christian iconographers from all traditions seek to rediscover the artistic roots of the icon, there is little clear direction for us “outsiders”.   It is difficult to faithfully and accurately follow the guidance of a tradition not one’s own, in an area where seemingly small things can mean so much.

This is brought into focus for me when attempting to write an icon for a strictly Catholic saint–say for example St. Thomas More–or an image such as the Holy Family.  A true icon has much more to say than decoration, and is based on more than imagination. But which symbols are…

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About reinkat

I am an iconographer, and have been studying Russian/Greek icons since 1995. I'm married with 3 children. I love hiking, camping, animals, my family and church--and icons.
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2 Responses to Catholic Iconographer Struggles

  1. lilyboat says:

    Thank you for providing a deeper understanding on the life of an iconographer. I can relate to this post in a way that we both seem to be speaking an ancient language that has long been forgotten. How sad that the humanity has drifted away so far from the Truth, from speaking the language of love, devotion and faithfulness.

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