Writing a religious iconology

The Conceptual Image Iconography Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images:

Writing a religious iconology

Contact Author The Great Mother Source Iconography and iconology are interdependent sciences concerned with the visual arts and architecture as reflections of a culture.

Broadly speaking, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. In the strict sense, iconography classifies and describes the attributes of persons, ideas, or institutions as they appear in art for example, the style and use of two keys as the symbol of St.

Peterand iconology explains their significance for example, the reason for the choice of the keys. Both may deal with secular art but are especially associated with religious art.

Concepts of symbolization

Since popular movements in the past were rarely literate, many religions owe much of their appeal to images. Often the iconographic forms of one religion will be adapted by another. Ancient Polytheisms The religion of the Great Mother, which flourished in western Asia in Neolithic times, was reflected in pottery figurines concerned with fertility—heavy-breasted and deep-thighed females and bulls.

In the Fertile Crescent after B. Lion-bodied, human-headed, winged sphinxes represented minor deities. The many-storied ziggurats, symbolizing the planets, were believed to be the earthly homes writing a religious iconology the gods.

Egyptian gods, also having a mixture of local and cosmic significance, appear in bas-relief, sculpture, and painting with human bodies and animal heads, indicating their origins as "totem" animals, believed to be the divine ancestors of clans.

Examples are Ptah, the creator, in the form of a bull; the cow-headed Hathor, a mother goddess; and the hawk-headed Re, the sun-god, identified with the pharaoh, who was also symbolized by sphinxes without wings. The Egyptian fascination with death as the gift of new life is reflected in the pyramids royal tombs and in tomb paintings portraying life in the next world.

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Greek and Roman gods were generally represented by statues or reliefs of ideally beautiful men and women. They were often associated with symbols, such as the helmet of Athena, the war goddess, or the lyre of Apollo, god of the arts.

Source Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Islam, struggling against belief in a multiplicity of older deities worshiped in anthropomorphic or zoomorphic form, opposed such portrayals of their supreme gods.

The Zoroastrian god of light and truth, Ahura Mazda, was worshiped in the altar fire in an empty hall and was indicated in art by a winged sun disk.

The making of graven images was forbidden to the Jews by the Law of Moses, which was reinforced by the triumph of austere piety at the Council of Jamnia about A. What has been called "the repressed sense of visual beauty among the Jews" found its outlet chiefly in ornaments connected with the Scroll of the Law, such as silver crowns, breastplates, pointers, finials, and embroidered curtains.

These objects often bore the basic symbols of Judaism—the menorah 7-branched candlestickthe two tablets of the Law, the lion of the tribe of Judah, and later the 6-pointed star of David. Islam is, if anything, stricter than Judaism in proscribing the depiction of living beings in religious art.

Mosques, however, are almost inevitably of great architectural beauty and are decorated with geometric designs and with texts from the Koran in the ancient Kufic script. Religious usage determines the characteristics of a mosque—minarets towers for the call to prayer; fountain or well for ritual ablutions; mihrab niche in the direction of Mecca; and mimbar pulpit.

The crescent, once a symbol of the Turks, has come to be associated with Islam. Source Christianity At first the church, continuing the Jewish distrust of iconology and fearful of persecution, resisted any attempt to picture Christ.

It illustrated His natures by symbols—a lamb an ancient Hebrew "totemistic" symbol ; Orpheus a classical symbol ; the lion of Judah; the Good Shepherd; fish, phoenix, or pelican; His monogram; and later the cross.

However, the early Christians, asked to imagine the historical Jesus making His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, for example, found it nearly impossible not to picture Him, to think of Him as looking like something.

Sometimes, under classical influence, they represented Him as an Apollo-like youth. In characteristic Byzantine representations, hedged about with the Biblical caution Isaiah Gradually Biblical figures and saints, distinguished by haloes and personal symbols, such as the lion of St.

Mark, appeared in Christian painting, mosaics, stained glass, fabrics, and eventually sculpture, long feared as especially conducive to idolatry. Crucifixes, portraying Christ on the cross, reluctantly adopted from the 7th century on, gave Christianity some of its best and worst art.

Churches were often built in the form of a cross and focused on the celebration of the chief sacrament at the altar.

Oriental Religions The vast array of gods in Hindu sculpture and painting often have several heads and arms making conventional gestures mudras and holding certain objects, such as a lotus, the whole figure symbolizing different aspects of the single divinity they share.The word iconography comes from the Greek εἰκών ("image") and γράφειν ("to write").

A secondary meaning (based on a non-standard translation of the Greek and Russian equivalent terms) is the production of religious images, called icons, in the Byzantine and Orthodox Christian tradition; that is .

Religious symbolism and iconography, respectively, the basic and often complex artistic forms and gestures used as a kind of key to convey religious concepts and the visual, auditory, and kinetic representations of religious ideas and events.

Religious symbolism and iconography - Icons and systems of iconography: Throughout the history of their development, religious iconography and symbolism have been closely interrelated. Many religious symbols can be understood as conceptual abbreviations, simplifications, abstractions, and stylizations of pictures or of pictorial impressions of .

Iconography and Iconology in World Religions and Faiths | Owlcation

Professor John Yiannias, Ph.D., expert in Early Christian and Byzantine Art, University of Pittsburgh, has a bold opinion on the issue of why “write” is the wrong verb to use for making an icon.

“While, on the face of it, the subject may appear only tangentially relevant to American Orthodox. Iconography and Iconology of an Advertisement Looking at the art of the past, we see many images depicting nude women. From Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus to Ingres’s Grande Odelisque, many artists like the idea of painting a .


writing a religious iconology

The terms iconology and iconography are derived from the Greek word for image (ε ί κ ώ ν) combined with either the word for writing (γ ρ ά φ ε ι ν, to write, thus iconography) or with the word for reason and thought (λ ό γ ο ς, thus iconology).

The two terms are closely connected and have often been used interchangeably.

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