- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Paraclete Press; Reissue edition (30 Nov. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1557253072
- ISBN-13: 978-1557253071
- Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.9 x 1.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,091,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Sacred Doorways: A Beginner's Guide to Icons Paperback – 30 Nov 2002
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More About the Author
About the Author
Linette Martin, a lifelong Anglican, is the author of several books, including Practical Praying. She studied Byzantine Art at Oxford University, England. After their children were grown, Linette and her husband lived in an oxfordshire village until her death in 1998.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is a first-rate introduction to all aspects of icons from their history, to their construction, to their spiritual significance. All of this context has helped add for me, the texture and meaning I always knew was there but I didn't know how to get to. I am still a novice and I may never break free of my addiction to getting information via the printed word, but I am starting to hear the voices of the artists who made (and continue to make) these sacred images.
This is a very detailed art book which explains how the icon artists approached their work. Ms. Martin ties the art techniques of icons with what she believes are the religious view point of the icon painters.
If you are a searcher, one who is looking to convert to the Eastern Church, one who is trying to understand the mystical roles of icons in the religious life of Orthodox Christians, then this book will in my opinion not meet your needs.
This is not an easy read. I would say that this book is more of an advanced guide to icons, not a beginner's book, for one who is just starting to investigate Orthodox Christianity.
If you are an artist, trying to expand your knowledge of this religious art form, then I can highly recommend this work.
The above said, the book "Sacred Doorways" is a very practical intro into the what and why of Icons. It examines the practical physical side of the Icon...why is Christ holding his hand like that, what materials are Icons made with, and so on. Such information, indeed, is extremely valuable in aiding a person to read the message and meaning of the Icon.
So the book is as it says "a beginner's guide to Icons," and is a nice launching pad for those looking for practical basic information on icons. In this way the book does just what it says it will do, and that makes it a good book. Yet, it would be a shame for someone studying to stop with this book, because the book does not delve into the vital aspects of the spirituality and theology of the icon. Then again it never promises to do so. The book is a good starting point. It is well written and easy to understand, a very pleasant read. The author is clearly very educated, in the practical sense, regarding icons. For someone studying icons it is a good book for the library.
For instance, the history section is basically an expanded timeline. Kinda like reading a history textbook. The materials section is in alphabetical order of the material. But some definitions include terms that are defined only later on in the section. So one definition refers to "gesso", which isn't defined until later in the section. Frustrating if you're reading the book from beginning to end.
The book does include a few color pictures of icons, but it doesn't talk about specific icon-makers. I've heard that Andrei Rublev was a great icon-maker; after reading this book, I still don't know why. I did, however, enjoy the section on what the hand formations and gestures in icons mean.
The book would have been better if it were written in a more flowing style. The final section (10 pages) about the theology of icons was written by the author's professor. It was good reading and was more what I was looking for in an introduction to icons.
Sacred Doorways would be useful as a reference if you're reading another icon book, but on it's own, it really isn't that fascinating.