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Between Tradition and Modernity: Icons and Icon Painters in Romania [Paperback]

Elena Ene D-Vasilescu
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

13 Oct 2009
In the religious culture of a significant part of Europe, the icon as a liturgical element of the Orthodox Church plays an important role. For a believer, it can have a transformative impact. It is a means towards the realisation of personhood because it brings people into direct relationship with God. The holy person depicted in the icon becomes present through it. The icon is thus a means of knowing God. Since ?the icon participates in the holiness of the represented? and ?reveals the incorruptible kingdom of God?, through it ?the beholder becomes a participant of divine life?. It means that a human being becomes capable of transfiguring matter and creating the sacred. This book encapsulates such concepts particularly as they apply to the icons of Romania. It also provides an overview of the history of icon painting in general and concludes that Romanian icons exhibit a wide variety of styles, all reminiscent of a common Byzantine tradition. It will be of particular interest to Art historians, Byzantinists, Church historians, theologians, medievalists, artists and icon painters.

Product details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: VDM Verlag (13 Oct 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 3639205952
  • ISBN-13: 978-3639205954
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 15 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,855,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Elena Ene D-Vasilescu studied for her doctorate at University of Oxford. Currently she does research in Byzantine Art History and Theology in the same university. She also teaches at Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

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5.0 out of 5 stars The Icon between Tradition and Modernity 24 Mar 2010
This is a timely and outstanding book which fills a gap in the academic research in English on Romanian iconography. With an inspired eye for both the historical and technical details, Elena Ene D-Vasilescu creates a fascinating narrative fresco of both the Byzantine heritage in Romania and its nineteenth century encounter with Western religious art. Set on a broader canvas - the development of the liturgical art in the territories that have carried out the Byzantine tradition after the collapse of the empire - this remarkable story that the book narrates is both informative for the reader not familiar with the theology of the icon and the praxis of icon-painting, and engaging for the expert searching for more specialized information in an area not much explored in the publications of English language.
The author introduces the reader into the world of the icon and what she calls `transfigured realism', a term used to indicate the reality that the icon strives to capture and represent: that of the Kingdom which is present and at the same time yet to come. All the discussion builds on this conception of the liturgical art, from which follow particular formal canons of representation. The thrust of the book is the discussion of the tradition and innovation in Romanian iconography, with special emphasis on the period from the second half of the nineteenth century up to the present day. Innovation can be an organic growth within the traditional canonical forms but also a development under an external influence which is perceived as alien to a given tradition. While we are offered valuable insights into the former type of innovation, the main interest of the author is to explore the latter and it is here that her main contribution lies.
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