ICONS. THE GREAT JOURNEY
The first global history of iconographic art. All the countries involved, all the techniques and the stylistic evolution. The icon first came about in the Hellenistic era in the Middle East, during the last period of the Roman Empire. The biggest centre of production for iconographic works of art was first Constantinople, and then later Russia. Iconography spread throughout the Middle East, affecting all neighbouring nations (Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Anatolia). Constantinople, the centre of the new Byzantine Empire, experienced the prohibition of sacred images after the Byzantine Iconoclasm, becoming the ultimate engine for iconographic works of art in the ninth century. Moving from the Middle East, the use of icons soon travelled to Ethiopia, Georgia and Armenia. From Constantinople, iconography spread to Greece as well as throughout the Aegean islands, then continued north to the Balkan and Slavic regions, not limited to Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. The production of iconography reached Kiev in the twelfth century, then the heart of Russia on to Novgorod and Moscow, "the third Rome", as it would be called after the fall of Constantinople. After the fall of the Byzantine empire, iconography spread to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and then on to the Aegean Slavs, who were heavily influenced by Venice. In Italy, the production of iconographic art had already been underway since the iconoclasm. The icons vary from country to country, reflecting diverse cultural traditions, but we always recognise them as "icons": images with a symbolic, liturgical, religious and sometimes even political power in Western Christianity. In this book Tania Velmans invited the most important scholars from different countries to discuss iconography on a global scale, contributing with their varied skills to create the first comprehensive history of iconographic art.