The aim of the present article is to examine the spiritual aspects of the orthodox icon, i. e. of Byzantine figurative art. Based on the dogmatic formulation (Seventh Ecumenical Council, AD 787, Nicaea) of the nature and significance of the holy images, we will first turn our attention to their aesthetic influence, not from an artistic standpoint, since numerous works have already been written on the subject, but in regards to the category of beauty in terms of the theological thought. Second, we will examine the spiritual aspects of the icon, viz. historical, liturgical and dogmatic-canonical and morally edifying. One of the concerns of the discussion will be also the issue of the rightful understanding of the concept of Byzantine art, since Byzantine is oftentimes erroneously perceived as Greek, and not as east orthodox, especially by connoisseurs of classic orthodox icons. This misconception will be refuted in what follows below. With this conclusive view, and in order to make things fully clear, we will carry out a retrospective examination of the development of Christian art during the ages since the founding of the church in the first century AD, until the beginning of the Neo-Byzantine period in ecclesiastical art in the 15th century.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.