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What are the icons?

Going to church, we see a huge number of different icons that are placed in a certain order on the walls. We think about which icons to put a candle for peace, for health, for whom to pray, for diseases to go, for the welfare of children, for success in business, for peace in the family, for love. To begin to understand a wide variety of holy faces, you need to know what the icons are and what they are for.

Main types of icons

Yes, indeed, there are many icons, but they are all divided into several main types. On each wall of the church, you can see that the icons are grouped into compositions, some icons are always in the center (iconostasis), others with an edge, top or bottom (behind the automatic). So the first division of icons - by location. Closer to the iconostasis there are always icons of the Savior and the Mother of God. The icon of the Holy Trinity is always located in the center. On the sides and closer to the exit (entrance) hang the icons of all Saints, Apostles, Martyrs, Righteous.

Further, the division of icons takes place according to the plot, according to the number of characters on the icon, according to the number of compositions in one icon, according to style and technique (typical of individual schools of painting), according to size.All these features are inherent in the icons in the church, but the basic principles are observed in home iconostasis.

House Icons

The tradition of placing icons at home is now almost not respected by anyone, but they were sacredly honored at the beginning of the last century, before the active planting of atheism. In each house there were all kinds of icons that the household was supposed to have. It was a family icon, that is, one that was passed down from generation to generation of the family. Then, at the birth of each child, they ordered and hung a dimensional icon. It should be depicted patron saint, he was drawn on the board, which in size was equal to the height of the child at birth. Be sure to hang the wedding icon, which blessed and crowned the young. And for everyone who lives in the house, they placed the icon-named icon, that is, with the image of the saint, whose name is called a person.

Also at home were worthy icons, which gave a traveler a journey. A portable icons called those who took with them to the procession. There were also vows icons, they were written when someone made a promise of something and wanted to fix his word forever.

Scenes of icons

Each icon has its own plot, which is taken from the Bible. Studying what are the icons, you can get acquainted with their main types. These are icons of the Holy Trinity, where there is always God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, portrayed as a white dove. Next in importance are Christological icons. These are icons depicting Jesus Christ, and numerous events from his life described in the Gospel. In these icons, a separate group identifies “passionate” icons, in which the events of a passionate week are reflected. The Virgin Mary icons depict the Virgin Mary, events from her life, as well as the Virgin Holidays. The Mother of God is depicted both alone and with a baby in her arms. These are the main types of icons, in Europe they are called icons of the Holy Family. But this diversity of church paintings does not end there, there are icons of saints, disembodied forces, holidays, various events in the history of the church, etc.

The number of characters and stories

The number of characters on the icon can be any one - from one and two (main) to a huge multitude (multi-figured compositions). But the composition of the icons are one, two, and multipart.In such an icon there is a central composition, which is surrounded on all sides by one row or even several rows of minor compositions. Usually on such icons there is a text that tells about any period of life or history of the area. There is, for example, such an icon about Peter and Fevronia, which tells the whole story of their divine union. Such icons are more like modern comics, forgive the icon painters for comparison. But they also have pictures and an explanation of their text.

Icon Painting Schools

There are many plots on icons, but they are often repeated, although the icons are different. It largely depends on the school where the icon was made. The main schools of icon painting are Kiev, Novgorod, Moscow, Vladimir-Suzdal, Pskov, Rostov-Yaroslavl, Greek, Serbian, etc. In the world history of icon painting such independent masters stand out: Andrei Rublev, Feofan Grek, Dionisy. Each school had its own preferences and techniques for the manufacture of icons, these are pictorial, embroidered, cast, carved, printed, folding (from several folded boards).


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