Understanding iconography

Iconography is the description, classification, and interpretation of the subject matter of a work of art. Derived from the Greek words eikon, meaning image or icon, and graphia, meaning description, writing, or sketch, the word iconography is one of the least understood, most abused, and most flexible terms in the English language.

Understanding iconography

The church and its history The essence and identity of Christianity At the very least, Christianity is the faith tradition that focuses on the figure of Jesus Christ.

As a traditionChristianity is more than a system of religious belief. It also has generated a culturea set of ideas and ways of life, practices, and artifacts that have been handed down Understanding iconography generation to generation since Jesus first became the object of faith.

Christianity is thus both a living tradition of faith and the culture that the faith leaves behind. The agent of Christianity is the churchthe community of people who make up the body of believers.

Few Christians, however, would be content to keep this reference merely historical. Although their faith tradition is historical—i. While there is something simple about this focus on Jesus as the central figure, there is also something very complicated.

That complexity is revealed by the thousands of separate churches, sects, and denominations that make up the modern Christian tradition. To project these separate bodies against the background of their development in the nations of the world is to suggest the bewildering variety.

To picture people expressing their adherence to that tradition in their prayer life and church-building, in their quiet worship or their strenuous efforts to change the world, is to suggest even more of the variety.

Given such complexity, it is natural that throughout Christian history both those in the tradition and those surrounding it have made attempts at simplification. Modern scholars have located the focus of this faith tradition in the context of monotheistic religions.

Understanding iconography

Christianity addresses the historical figure of Jesus Christ against the background of, and while seeking to remain faithful to, the experience of one God. It has consistently rejected polytheism and atheism. A second element of the faith tradition of Christianity, with rare exceptions, is a plan of salvation or redemption.

That is to say, the believers in the church picture themselves as in a plight from which they need rescue. For whatever reasonthey have been distanced from God and need to be saved. The agent of that redemption is Jesus Christ. It is possible that through the centuries the vast majority of believers have not used the term essence to describe the central focus of their faith.

The term is itself of Greek origin and thus represents only one part of the tradition, one element in the terms that have gone into making up Christianity.

Essence refers to those qualities that give something its identity and are at the centre of what makes that thing different from everything else. To Greek philosophers it meant something intrinsic to and inherent in a thing or category of things, which gave it its character and thus separated it from everything of different character.

Thus Jesus Christ belongs to the essential character of Christianity and gives it identity in the same way that Buddha does for Buddhism. If most people are not concerned with defining the essence of Christianity, in practice they must come to terms with what the word essence implies.

Whether they are engaged in being saved or redeemed on the one hand, or thinking and speaking about that redemption, its agent, and its meaning on the other, they are concentrating on the essence of their experience. Those who have concentrated from within the faith tradition have also helped to give it its identity.

It is not possible to speak of the essence of a historical tradition without referring to how its ideal qualities have been discussed through the ages.

Iconography in Art and Architecture

Yet one can take up the separate subjects of essence and identity in sequence, being always aware of how they interrelate. Page 1 of Christianity: Christianity, major religion, stemming from the life, teachings, and death of Jesus of Nazareth (the Christ, or the Anointed One of God) in the 1st century ad.

It has become the largest of the world’s religions. Geographically the most widely diffused of all faiths, it has a constituency of more. Understanding Iconography. 2 February United States; I also found that he as a Indian people took pride in the women of his tribe by giving them grand headdresses which symbolized importance.


The fourth one is hard to explain but I feel that Howling Wolf did not put the focus on one certain area but on the whole picture as there was. Kariteimo (Skt. = Hariti), Mother of Child-Eating Demons, But Now a Protector of Children, Giver of Children.

Visit Ancestry Support to get help online for your Ancestry account and learn how to find genealogy resources with step-by-step guides. Iconographic Analysis: Understanding Iconography. In iconographic analyses, art historians look at the icons or symbols in a work to discover the work’s original meaning or intent.

To accomplish this kind of analysis, they need to be familiar with the culture and people that produced the work. Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman [Pablo Amaringo, Luis Luna] on ph-vs.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

The mythologies and cosmology of Amazonian shamanism materialize in fantastic color and style in this unique.

Iconography - Wikipedia