Collecting Icons

Nativity of Jesus Icon from St. Paraskeva Church
Nativity of Jesus Icon from St. Paraskeva Church

Why Collect Icons?

Are you an Icon collector?  Collecting Icons is similar to collecting fine art in that the beauty is often times in the eye of the beholder.  Icons carry meaning in addition to the esthetics we expect from visual art. That meaning, or content, might relate on a very personal level to the viewer and thus have a high degree of value, regardless of the aesthetic qualities.  For example, an Icon of Saint Luke will resonate with artists, Iconographers, physicians, and bachelors because Saint Luke is their patron saint.  Icons have the ability to enhance our prayer life as we venerate the saints depicted.

St. Luke Icon by Christine Hales
St. Luke Icon by Christine Hales

 

Venerating Icons

molennaya

We use the word venerate to talk about our interactions with Icons.  To venerate means to cherish, honor, exalt, be in awe of, appreciate and reverence.  In old Russia, during times of religious persecution, people who could afford it would create a beautiful corner in their homes, or a small chapel.  This would hold the Icons that this family particularly revered and understood as important parts of their family prayer lives.

Icons can deepen our prayer life with specific, focused prayer.
Icons can deepen our prayer life with specific, focused prayer.

Icons can enhance our connection to the God we adore through specific, focused prayer.  Therefore, collecting Icons is a means of keeping our vision on God’s Kingdom in our homes, and sharing that with our families and friends.

Collecting Icons from Antiquity

Another aspect of collecting Icons is that of finding Icons from earlier centuries that have added value because of their age and provenance. One of the foremost Icon Galleries for ancient Icons is the Temple Gallery in London, UK.  It was founded in 1959 as a center for study, restoration and exhibition of ancient Icons and sacred art. With ancient Icons, their monetary value rises in accordance with their condition, provenance, size, and age.

Russian_nativity_icon

People often ask about the value about the icons they have discovered in their travels or have had handed down in their families.  TheMuseum of Russian Icons, in Clinton, Massachusetts, will do Icon evaluations on certain dates. They will also provide conservation and appraisal services upon request.  The museum has a beautiful permanent collection as well as changing exhibitions.

A Living Traditon

Nativity_Icon_Melissotopos_Olishta_19_Century
Nativity Icon Melissotopos Olishta 19 Century

Iconography is a living tradition, bringing the elements of the Christian faith to believers through the centuries.  Icons are often painted in the same way that they have been for hundreds of years.  And, as a living Tradition, Icons painted today are bringing along the traditions of the past and marrying them to contemporary faith and art practices.  Truly it is an exciting time to be collecting Icons!

May God bless your Icon creating and collecting especially this Advent Season!

Blessings and prayers,

Christine Hales

Icon Website     Icon Prints Website

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

christinglory Hello Friends and Fellow Iconographers:

Beginning this month, the new Blog look is starting!  The goal is to have this blog be an information source for artists and Iconographers internationally.  I am collecting Iconographers’ website links and blogs so if you’re reading this and would like to be included or have links that you think would benefit the larger community of Iconographers, please email me with them: christine@newchristianicons.com, so they can be included.

My Icon Retreat news for this month is the Icon Retreat I’m teaching at Saint James Church on Madison Ave, New York, NY will be held Fri-Sunday February 20-22. There are still some spaces but you should book early. We will be writing the Icon of Saint Raphael the Archangel of healing, and guide for those on journeys of all kinds.raphaelunframedweb

Also, have updated my Icon website: www.newchristianicons.com– let me know how you like it!

A new Beginning Icon Writing class is starting in Hillsdale, NY at the Christian Community Church, Thursday evenings 6-9PM starting January 15. Email to register.

Just returned from seeing two pretty wonderful museums in NYC and want to share what’s on there-in case you can get there this season, or view online.

First, at MOBIAtimthumb.php, the Durer, Rembrandt, Tiepolo and Blake, exhibition of Master Prints is incredibly satisfying as an exhibition with both scope and depth.

Particularly interesting is the combination of Scripture – the written Word and the visual images. The exhibition continues through January 11, 2015 and admission is free.  A second exhibition at MOBIA is “A Bible for our Nation”timthumb-1.php– also interesting, particularly the Mohawk and Seneca translations.

The second exhibition of great interest is at the Morgan Library, 225 Madison Ave. at 36th street, “The Crusader Bible: a Gothic Masterpiece”. One of the great illuminated manuscripts in the world, believed to have been made in Paris, 1250, it has beautifully colored egg tempera illustrations of biblical scenes by seven anonymous artists.   Open until January 5, this exhibition is delightful and a rare opportunity to view this manuscript.Crusader

There’s also an exhibition of Cy Twomby’s Treatise on the Veil. I love Twombly’s work, but in the context of these more structured and time intensive arts, the Treatise  pales by comparison.