Russian icons written by request by one of the chief iconographers of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia. The Russian icon above is an example of a familty icon
As symbols of various alphabets can be put together to from words and para-
graphs to convey the word of God, likewise iconographers with their skills can convey
that Word of God. This is why we say Russian icons and Russian religious art are written not painted. In the early
Christian Church the majority of believers were uneducated and could not read or write.
The writers of Russian icons and Russian religious art therefore became a major source of education and teaching. All
the events and people associated with the life of Jesus Christ were written by the iconographer.
It is not unusual to walk into orthodox churches and see every area possible written with religious art
and depicting most major events in the Bible. Most impressive are the walls in the
caves in Cappodcia where iconography is still visible from the 9th. century.
In secular art the painter allows his personality to enter into the painting. The
characters are in many cases real people and contain great emotion. In the Eastern orthodox Church
the traditional form of iconography is maintained. The writer of Russian icons follows a manual
and readings of the orthodox church not allowing his personality to enter into his work. if the strict
tradition is followed they pray and fast prior to undertaking any writing. The Russian icon is neutral
in character, the event is mystical in nature and must remain so. As John the Baptist, the
Forerunner of Jesus Christ became less so Christ becomes greater the iconographer must do likewise.
The Russian icons that will be shown on these pages for the most part will be written on boards with
egg tempera or oil.