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By C.A. Tsakiridou

Icons in Time, people in Eternity offers a severe, interdisciplinary exam of up to date theological and philosophical stories of the Christian picture and redefines this in the Orthodox culture through exploring the ontological and aesthetic implications of Orthodox ascetic and mystical theology. It reveals Modernist curiosity within the aesthetic peculiarity of icons major, and crucial for re-evaluating their dating to non-representational artwork. Drawing on classical Greek artwork feedback, Byzantine ekphraseis and hymnography, and the theologies of St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Symeon the recent Theologian and St. Gregory Palamas, the writer argues that the traditional Greek inspiration of enargeia most sensible conveys the expression of theophany and theosis in artwork. The characteristics that outline enargeia - inherent liveliness, expressive autonomy and self-subsisting shape - are pointed out in exemplary Greek and Russian icons and regarded within the context of the hesychastic theology that lies on the middle of Orthodox Christianity. An Orthodox aesthetics is therefore defined that acknowledges the transcendent being of paintings and is open to discussion with assorted pictorial and iconographic traditions. An exam of Ch’an (Zen) paintings idea and a comparability of icons with work via Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko and Marc Chagall, and via eastern artists motivated by way of Zen Buddhism, demonstrate interesting issues of convergence and distinction. The reader will locate in those pages purposes to reconcile Modernism with the Christian snapshot and Orthodox culture with artistic shape in paintings.

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Additional info for Icons in Time, Persons in Eternity: Orthodox Theology and the Aesthetics of the Christian Image

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A. Tsakiridou, “Roland Barthes Explores Photography ‘as a Wound’,” Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory, 18/3 (1995): pp. 273–285. ”17 This move is significant because it establishes the image internally as a visceral reality, and externally as representation. ”19 But that is all he will yield to the image (which the reader never gets to see). The photograph’s revelation is personal and incommunicable: “for you it would be nothing but an indifferent picture,” he writes. ”20 Emanation is an operation that does not take place inside the image but outside it, by means of a mechanism that is alien to its being.

It results from an ontological fruition in the art object similar to the one by which a panel of wood weeps myrrh or a dried jasmine bush fills with flowers. It can even be called miraculous (or on the verge of speech) because of the extraordinary way in which in such instances painting absorbs and realizes its subjects. Exemplarity is a form of aesthetic sanctification. It brings things to a state of holiness, as Christianity understands it. An exemplary Christian image operates where representation ends and a certain kind of life begins.

This ties in to an idea that we introduced earlier. The presence, for instance, of meekness or humility in the physiognomy of the ascetic has an obvious theological significance. But it is not by itself sufficient to bring the icon to a state of exemplarity. Exemplarity requires that the image itself, qua image, participate in the humility of its subject and be present as an instance of humble existence. This movement toward self-expression and realization in the aesthetic object is best conveyed by enargeia (see next chapter).

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