The painted panels made for use in Byzantine and Orthodox churches and for prayers at home are perhaps the most effective and enduring form of religious art ever developed - and also perhaps one of the most mysterious.
This book explains the history of icons in the context of the history of Christianity and examines all aspects of the production and power of this distinctive art form.
Based on an analysis of British Museum examples that have been carefully studied by restorers, Robin Cormack explains how icons were made, framed and displayed. He also explores their subject matter, showing how scenes can be identified and how the iconography developed over the centuries and examining the role of portraiture. Finally, the author looks at the continuing use and interest of icons in the modern world, and how artists such as Matisse found inspiration in them.
The thoroughly inspiring book is richly illustrated mainly with Cretan, Greek and Russian examples from the British Museum.