Painting or relief: The ideal icon in iconophile writing in Byzantium

Zograf. 2006;2006-2007(31):7-14 DOI 10.2298/ZOG0731007P


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Zograf

ISSN: 0350-1361 (Print); 2406-0755 (Online)

Publisher: Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade

LCC Subject Category: Fine Arts: Arts in general: History of the arts

Country of publisher: Serbia

Language of fulltext: English, German, Russian, Italian, Serbian, French

Full-text formats available: PDF



Pentcheva Bissera V.


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 25 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This text is focused on the transformation of the definition of the icon in Byzantine image theory from an identification of graphe with painting in the writings of John of Damascus (ca. 675-754) to the equation of graphe with typos understood as the imprint of an intaglio on matter in the theory of Theodore Studies (759-826). The virtues of painting, therefore, are that its masters see their works admired and feel themselves to be almost like the Creator. Is it not true that painting is the mistress of all the arts or their principal ornament? If I am not mistaken, the architect took from the painter architrave's, capitals, bases, columns and pediments, and all other fine features of buildings. The stonemason, the sculptor, and all the workshops and crafts of artificers are guided by the rule and art of the painter. Indeed hardly any art, except the very meanest, can be found that does not somehow pertain to painting. So I would venture to assert that whatever beauty there is in things, it has been derived from painting.