15.11.10

Iconography

Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. Ethymologically, the term iconography comes from the Greek εἰκών "image" and γράφειν "to write."


Fernando Gallego, Salvator Mundi, oil, 1485. Museo del Prado, Madrid

Iconographical research is often based on literary sources. Religious images are used to some extent by all major religions, including both Indian and Abrahamic faiths, and often entail highly complex iconography, which reflects centuries of accumulated tradition.


INDIAN SOURCE - Ramayana. Anonymous, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman, poster


HEBREW TRADITION - Tanakh. Tetragram, Liège, 18th Century


GRAECO-ROMAN MYTH - Iliad. Michelangelo, Rape of Ganymede, 1532


CHRISTIAN SOURCE - Gospel of Luke. Louis Alincbrot, Christ among the Doctors, c. 1460


ISLAMIC TRADITION. Buraq painted on the rear of a Pakistani truck, 2008


Additional examples to keep in mind:

Hans Holbein the Younger, Allegory of the Old and New Testaments, c. 1524, oil on wood, 49 X 61 cm. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

The Glue Society, The Crossing of the Red Sea, digital image, Australia, 2009

Gallego, The Circumcision, panel from the Retablo of Ciudad Rodrigo, c. 1480-88. Oil and tempera on panel. University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson


Immanuel (God with Us), greeting card, 2010

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