1. Thanks for your efforts Todor. I know how all these questions are primal to many of the contemporary iconographers. All languages and all identities have both a coherent internal set of characteristics that afford us the capacity to recognize them for what they are, and they also contain a degree of variability which makes them living systems. Icon painting is no different than English or Science Fiction novels. It is as counter-productive to attempt reducing any living system of meaning to a set of rules and limits as it is to on the other hand to deconstruct these rules and limits by simply emphasizing their variability and showing exceptions. The first is the work of the obtuse legalist and the second is the work of the subversive divider. The former will stifle the system into paralysis, the second will deconstruct it into mixture and chaos. Having said that though, we also need those who point to the dangers of extreme variability because they have seen church iconography swallowed by modern paradigms of “art” in the 19th and 20th centuries. To think that cannot happen again is naive, especially as Christianity is under siege by secular philosophies. But we also need the intuition of artists who are integrating the language of iconography in a way that is alive and vibrant with particularity. I just wish the intuitive ones did not feel the need to attack the very tendency towards coherence, because if they do that, they run the risk of finishing their life as exceptions that have not been integrated into the greater system of meaning.

  2. Todor Mitrovic

    Thank you for your comment, Jonathan. I do agree that extremities are basically dangerous. Moreover, the idea of the integral article is how to overcome the extremities. Thus, next parts will speak about the rules and principles – may be a bit surprisingly – in quite an afirmative context :))

  3. Todor thank you for starting this very important discussion. I personally agree that there is a problem. To find the correct solution though we must define the problem of contemporary iconography as accurately as we can. To ask the correct questions is fundamental to get the correct answers.
    Would I correctly understand that you define the problem as a lack of personal artistic authenticity because a bunch of hidden external, juridical recipies are imposed on today’s iconographer?
    In other words are you saying that personal authenticity is sacificed to achieve ecclesiastical – spiritual authenticity?
    Your dialogue with Jonathan confused me even more. For Jonathan -and Jonathan please correct me If I misunderstood- personal authenticity is sacrificed to achieve a uniformity of the artistic language. Too much of the former destroys the latter….right Jonathan?

    So is the balance we need now between personal expression and linquistic coherence? Because today we have the latter without the former?

    Or is it about a balance of authenticity personal and ecclesiastical, because again today we have the latter without the former?

    Can you please clarify? I want to be sure I understand you, correctly. Thanks.

  4. Fr. Silouan Justiniano

    Dear Dimitrios,

    Thank you for joining the conversation with your excellent questions. I’m glad the article is beginning to stimulate discussion. I just want to remind you and Jonathan that this post is just the first one of a series of four. So I think the questions you have will gradually be answered in the upcoming installments. Be assured that Todor has taken into consideration most, if not all, of the angles and concerns you and Jonathan have brought to the table. Thanks again for joining the conversation!

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