Russian Icons (Vol III, Ch 8)

From Michael Ruse:

Since we have read about the early links that existed between Byzantium and Kievan Rus’ in the chapter on Russian Church Architecture, Metropolitan Hilarion discusses the Greek influence on iconography in Russia, certainly seen in major Cathedrals, as he shows. This chapter has several sections that roughly follow a historical outline, and it seems he intends for us to soak up that vision of Russia’s icons. 

When certain Russian cities grew in cultural importance, they also became important places for the development of iconography, for example, Tver and Moscow. The masterful iconographer, Theophanes the Greek, was well-known in the 15thc. He was on the artistic scene of Muscovite iconography, and importantly he also taught the painter, Andrei Rublev. 

Saint Andrei Rublev and Icon of the Holy Trinity follows next, and Metropoitan Hilarion also includes a discussion on the topic of iconostasis development. But the “Holy Trinity” icon of the Trinity Lavra at St. Sergius is a fascinating topic that deserves its own book because of its important theological and mystical meaning. 

The remaining sections of this chapter cover: 

-      Dionysius and the Subsequent Development of Russian Iconography 

-      Post-Petrine Period and Academic Painting in Orthodox Churches 

-      Russian Icons in the Post-Revolutionary Period

There may be more than one thing that we can appreciate about Russian Icons when we read of the history. One great appreciation we can have for icons and which the Church recognizes in icons are not only beautiful paint seen on the wood, but equally the master craftsmen who are skilled at making them. Metropolitan Hilarion again covers with virtuosity a key part of Orthodox worship and he highlights important icons throughout Russian history. The next chapter will deal with what icons mean.