From April through early June, I have the privilege of studying art in Turkey and Greece with an abroad group from my college. I’ll be posting updates here periodically. You can also find updates from me and the 20 other students on the group’s blog and web page:
In addition to learning about the area’s culture and taking a drawing course, each student must create an individual project. Here’s a summary of mine:
“Icon,” or in Greek, “eikon,” simply means “image,” and has come to mean a holy image to which special devotion is given. For my project I will create my own icons with a firm stylistic basis in Eastern Orthodox iconography but with the added twist of modern content. I expect that by researching the icons of Greek Orthodoxy I will learn much about what makes Greek culture, specifically Greek religious culture, “tick.” Then I will use this knowledge as a basis for my own contemporary interpretation of the icon.
As a non-Orthodox outsider, I find religious iconography fascinating. St. Paul Florensky calls the icon a window to the divine – a physical representation of a higher principle that actually participates in the glory of what it represents. As an artist, I love the idea of so much meaning and power held in one image.
After spending time examining icons in churches, I will create several icon paintings using gouache and gold leaf. I intend to mimic historic iconography in composition and style, but my choice of subject matter will be my own. The content of my icons will subtly explore the idea of what is worshipped today versus what was worshipped in the past.
I can’t wait to start this adventure in Turkey this coming week!