The Icon Collection
The primary function of an icon is devotional and sacramental. Orthodox Christians believe that icons make present the person they depicted. Any irreverence towards an icon would be deeply offensive.
What we see in an icon is not a picture of the natural world. The icon shows a symbolic view of the world - a higher reality. Prototypes of icons (originals, found by Holy men women and children) are perceived as living and dynamic. The idea of the icon as a presence is crucial to their understanding, and shows how they differ from other Western Christian art- which is narrative.
The earliest icon is thought to be the one Luke painted of the Virgin Mary. The painting of an icon was seen itself as an act of prayer. The iconographer needed to prepare himself with fasting, confession and prayer to purify and liberate himself.
The inspiration for the icon came from the Holy Spirit, not the artist. Icons were therefore anonymous. They were copied from their prototypes, and needed to be as close as possible to the originals.
To view the Icons click here.