Unlikely Icons

 

Traditionally, icons are meant to depict holy individuals in their "eternal state" resulting in the stylized appearance widely recognized in icons. Without the need to adhere to a realistic representation, the icon is the perfect medium through which to visually convey what the religious believe is transcendent inexpressibility.

 

The symbolism of iconography extends beyond the easily recognizable cross (held in the right hand of a martyr) or scroll (representing one's writings) for example. Details such as color, dimensions, stylized features, etc. also hold meaning relevant to the holy subject's life or the church's teaching. MonasteryIcons.com describes another example saying, "Even the geometric folds of their clothes speak of a heavenly order and balance."

 

Those familiar with icons will notice the consistent structure of the images from ancient to modern times. Most iconographers follow a set pattern for each icon whether it is a saint, Mary, Jesus, etc. making them easily identifiable, even without a title included. This practice taps into the traditional and spiritual process of painting an icon. 

 

The enigmatic stories and dualistic natures of characters like Lucifer and Judas Iscariot are what originally inspired these works. This led to the creation of the Holy Family II icon (Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and daughter Sarah) and other figures challenging dogma and indoctrination: images of inspiration for advocates of free thought.