Byzantine iconography has been an instrumental part of Christianity from the earliest of days. Tradition cites Saint Luke the Evangelist as the first recorded iconographer because he had created several icons of the Virgin Mary. The mosaics from the Holy Monastery of Kykkos in Cyprus shown here depict the direct request of the Virgin Mother for her likeness to be rendered by the Evangelist Luke. The mosaic below shows the creation of the first icons by Saint Luke and his presentation of his holy work and the Virgin Mother’s approval.
Byzantine iconography is distinctly stylized by its use of flat figures in simple landscapes which do not abide by the general laws of perspective. Byzantine icons are not intended to be realistic depictions but are to be used as an aid in prayer. While the Byzantine style is stripped of realism, the compositions are steeped in theological symbolism. It is important to note that for centuries iconography acted as scripture for the unschooled. Anyone viewing an icon, regardless of educational background, could immediately draw a wealth of theological teachings from it.
Each element in an icon is specifically placed in the composition for precise theological reasons. For example, in icons depicting The Nativity of Christ, Joseph is part of a group of persons standing just outside of the cave. The only figures within the cave are the infant Christ and the Virgin Mary, and the symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit in the form of a ray of light. Such a composition clearly states that Joseph had nothing to do with the birth of Christ as a paternal figure, except as witness to the incarnation of God as Man.
Our icons are handcrafted with great care using 22kt. German gold leaf and the highest quality acrylic pigments. Icons are created on panels with a raised border and murals are painted on canvas which can then be adhered to the wall surface. Along with samples of traditional iconography in the gallery, you can also view samples of glass and marble etchings.