SERVING THE CHURCH THROUGH ICONS: The Online Icon Course course is an ongoing project, exploring the iconography of the Church in depth. Beginning in the earliest Church, the units trace the interweaving of theology, liturgy, church design and personal devotion. Initially developed for icon painters, the course includes practical exercises to develop the skills needed for liturgical design. It is now being made available to all with an interest in developing standards of excellence in ecclesial art today. It is recommended not only to iconographers, but to priests, church architects, catechists and art teachers, and to all those for whom art is part of their spiritual journey.
The Online Icon Course is a unique studies course, matching practical exercises for iconographers with study of the history of the Church. It grew out of the experience of running practical workshops to teach the icon, in which it became clear that both icon painters and those responsible for art and architecture in the church generally, need an opportunity for more comprehensive studies. For the iconographer, in order to improve their drawing and paint better icons: for those involved in church art and architecture a training in the context and method of using images in churches and church decoration. This is an ongoing project, so expect the course material to become gradually available.
TThe first part of the course starts from the pre-Christian artwork of the great civilisations of the time of Christ, and the techniques which were taken over from them and transformed to convey the new revelation of the Incarnate God. As the four Apostolic patriarchates - Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch and Alexandria - were formed, the Christians developed a new artistic language.
The second part of the course looks at icons as Biblical exegesis. Starting with the Old testament precursors, moving through the Gospel narrative and completing with St. Paul, we see how a visual language was developed which parallels and depends on the Scriptural exegesis of the Church Fathers. Special attention is given to Gregory of Sinai’s exegesis of the Transfiguration.
The third part of the course explores how icons became associated with the liturgy. We study icons which transmit the teaching of the Church Councils - Nicea I and the 'Trinity;' Ephesus and the Icons of the Mother of God; Chalcedon and the dialogue of colour and form reflecting the two natures; and the effects on iconography of inter-church conflict, the Celtic question and the rise of Islam.
The fourth part of the course covers the important doctrinal controversy of iconoclasm, in which the theological principles of Church art were clarified and the first canons of Christian art formulated. This covers Nicea II, the western response, and ends with the Baptism of the Rus,' with an emphasis on the relation forged between prayer of the heart and the luminosity of Russian techniques.
These are sets of photos, with design and brush exercises. They are designed to help you with the practical mechanics of making a good design and gaining dexterity with your brush. Special issues, like the 3/4 face and crowd scenes are part of this. The exercises run in tandem with the slide lectures, so that you are learning technique in the same order that it’s characteristics evolved in the church.
The technical units start with the natural sources of materials and the historic evolution of the techniques. In parallel, we are developing slide show lectures of the stages of technique. These are going up slowly because they are in depth, and are designed to try to fill in the gaps of something you may have missed or forgotten in a workshop course. Use in the workroom on your iPad.
On the Subscription only pages you will find ongoing guidance for using the course and the opportunity to discuss units. Share with other users and receive feedback on your icons & designs via our Google Photos album group. Look on our 'Recommended' page, for links with icon teaching studios, iconographers and church craftsmen, together with resources for further studies. We recommend only the best!