In Catholicism, the prominent depiction of Christ crucified is powerful and meant to invoke both fear and respect. Images of Christ ringed by symbolic images, as seen in Russian Icons live to December 12 on iGavel Auctions, give rise to feelings of Christ as royal and powerful. Conversely Christ portrayed as a child in the popular Nativity scene humanizes the deity of the Christian world.
During the Middle Ages, the noble quality of chivalry became the predominant social ideology. Women were no longer seen as subordinate but were idealized and given “higher placement” as on a pedestal. Depictions of the Virgin were popularized and images of her with Christ were signs of proof that women are exceptional. This practice is theorized to have traversed the Gobi Desert and made its way into China in depictions of the Buddhist deity Guanyin as a mother figure.
Saints and clergymen are represented in the presence of Christ and the Virgin as a sign of their importance. This is illustrated here in Giuseppe Bertini’s rendition of Bononiesis’ “Holy Family.”
Icons are crafted in varying mediums and skill, they are used in both formal and private areas of worship and are meant to be a reminder that we are not alone, that we are important, that we ought to act with honor at all times, and that in periods of difficulty we can turn to a higher power for help and to find peace.
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For more information on the religious iconography of other religions, check out our various other blogs on Tibetan Thangkas and Asian Deities our see all our blogs in the “About” section of iGavelAuctions.com.