Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Icons of Our Lady

I was inspired by this post on Katherine's Orientale Lumen blog to show you my icon of Mary. (If you are at all interested in Eastern Christianity, then don't miss this blog! Katherine is a Byzantine Catholic who is posting a series of wonderful, lucid explanations of Orthodox spirituality and practice.)

I bought this nearly twenty years ago in a small studio/shop in Rethymnon, Crete. You could wander in from the street and watch the iconographer at work, and he was happy to explain (in good English!) what he was doing. My icon is only tiny - it measures about 5 inches by 3 inches - but was the only one I could afford. It is in the unique Cretan style of iconography, which the artist was trying to keep alive. I can't remember much of his explanation of the distinction between Cretan icons and others, except that the brown base for the skin tones is specifically Cretan. The picture of Mary does not seem to fit into any of the main types of icons of the Mother of God that Katherine lists, and I know nothing about its specific spiritual significance - though as all icons are a kind of painted prayer I'm sure it has some. It lives on a little strip of wall in the living room between the kitchen door and the open plan staircase. Unfortunately our late, lamented cat, Mister Mac, thought it was put there specially as a toy to bat at from the stairs and it has a few scratches in the top corner as a result. The colours are clearer and brighter than they appear in this photo. It may only be little, but I love it.

We are going to Crete for a family holiday in May and will be staying only a few miles from Rethymnon. I wonder if the iconographer is still there?


Katherine in TX said...

I want to see a picture, Kathryn. You've got me curious! :) Or is my computer messed up and I am just not seeing the picture you posted?

The Bookworm said...

How strange! It was there, and then it disappeared. I have put it back ... I hope!

Elizabeth said...

Can't see it :-(

Katherine in TX said...

It's so beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.

I think it's a Deisis Icon which means supplicating. Sometimes iconographers will write details of images. This one reminds me of something like this:

If it were full size it would probably be beside an Icon of Christ, demonstrating the intercession of the Theotokos.

I love it! What a blessing to have it in your home. I can't wait to hear about your next trip.

Elizabeth said...

Lovely. Thanks for sharing (and persisting!)

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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