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Byzantine Icons: Narrative Message and Interpretation

Narrative Message and Interpretation

ByMary Jane MillerJudyth Hill

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Byzantine Icons: Narrative Messages and Interpretation is an 88-page book that incorporates 36 full-color plates of my paintings, a collection of contemporary iconography inspired by classic Byzantine style iconography, painted using the traditional egg tempera technique. It is an old-world painting process of mixing egg yolk and ancient earth pigments.  The practice of iconography is a visual language about God that comes alive in color and texture through practice, patience, and living tradition is always in a process of responsive development that holds together, in lesser or greater tension, the past and the present. Living tradition is always open to new possibilities, insights, perspectives, and careful, faithful editing. While not overwhelming the reader with detail, Miller provides sufficient detail to identify both the tradition received and her reading of the tradition in our current context. For example, the icon of the Pool at Bethesda (#11) where we see the stones on mountains, taken from the ancient Jewish tradition of placing small rocks on a grave, a multivalent symbol to honor the dead or the re-appearance of women in a scene where they were certainly a part of the event, but have been erased from the scene by early male iconographers in a male-dominated church. This book, Byzantine Icons: Narrative Messages and Interpretation, invites the reader to read a visual language and seek its meaning and message. On the one hand???, it is a conventionally written icon image based on a biblical text of words. On the other hand???, the reader or viewer is invited to explore the storytelling and enter the icon. The forty images, colors, and shapes engage the viewer with the narrative put forth and at times provoke a surprising response to what you see as you ponder the image. Byzantine iconography contains a powerful narrative in color, texture, and style. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case a thousand meditations. May your reading bless you, opening to you the knowledge and truth of God who created you in God’s image and likeness, redeems you in your very humanness, and raises you into the new life of grace through the Son in the Spirit. May you find the infinite Mystery of God for you and with you…you who are beloved utterly by God. The story written in these icons is, finally, a love story. It is the story of God’s love for us that gives us life and empowers us to live it in all its wonder.


Publication Date
Jun 17, 2023
Religion & Spirituality
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
By (author): Mary Jane Miller, Edited by: Judyth Hill


Interior Color
US Letter (8.5 x 11 in / 216 x 279 mm)

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