Tag Archives: iconography


Phoicon has joined the team over at Amendment Nine, and his second post takes a shot at this humble blog:

Dan, the author of the blog TDAXP, was a favorite of Federalist X’s. I have no idea why. I’ve visited Dan’s blog often. The vast majority of what he has to say is completely incomprehensible, though there is a good deal of the Catholic guilt thrown in so it isn’t all incomprehensible to me I suppose.

and, more interestingly, at my Easter message

Not religiously correct?

Phoicon’s critique is direct, and well thought out:

The drawing is in fact a mockery of Christ. It is laughing in the face of the resurrection. The artist undoubtedly was amused, like most easterners so cynically are, at the notion that the dead were raised. The Buddha-like hand gestures again show disdain for Christianity and certainly for the Orthodox faith. The whole thing is an abomination. One must wonder whether Dan posted the picture as an insult to Christians intentionally or just naively?

Phicon seems to prefer a more Greek form of iconography:

Icon of The Risen Christ


Here is no faceless godhead, but a man. A strong man victoriously lifting the dead from their tombs. He has conqured death and is unblemished. Everyone is beneath him as he lefts the dead from their eternal slumber. This is Jesus, son of Man, winning the fight.

Again, Phoicon chose is thoughts well. He is correct in his condemnation of the Byzantine artwork. But, I think, wrong in his negative criticism…

The reason I chose to go with a work by He Qi was his stunningly beautiful painting of Saint Paul being called on the road to Damascus. The portrait is striking,

The Calling of Saint Paul

More unrealistic even that European renditions

The Conversion of Saint Paul

He Qi captures the moment in a foreign, stylized manner. He gives us not a photograph of what happened (in the manner that the Passion of the Christ gives a photographic account of the crucifixion) but something to remember it by.

And this, something to remember by, is what we mean by “icon.” The cross and crucifixes, the depictions of Mary and the Saints, that the iconoclasts smashed where not powers and principalities apart from God, but rather tools to help us remember the life and death of Our Lord, the Queen of the Angels, and all those who follow him. Likewise, the family is an icon of the Holy Trinity, as the love that connects each person in the family reminds us of the Perfect Love connecting the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as three persons, in one God.

Which brings us back to the icon that so enraged Phoicon

Faux Iconography?

Whether this art is an icon or not pivots on one point: does it help you remember the Resurrection of Our Lord. If yes, then it is an icon. If not, then it is not.

This is true whether or not it embraces & extends Buddhism to its logical completion (indeed, the logical completion of all things): Love.

Hear also: The episode Iconoclasm: What’s that?, from Rock Solid with Mark Shea, a podcast by Catholic Exchange.