Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Bending Heaven Down to Earth

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

The Medieval Icon

image of Religion and the Arts

This article sets out to rehabilitate the medieval icon as a visual paradigm, seeing it not as a primitive attempt at painterly perspective and the verisimilitude it sought to achieve, but as a sophisticated symbolic system with an entirely different intention, one that will be shown to share the apophatic nature of certain mystical texts. The “inverse perspective” that typifies the icon creates the impression of a figure actively gazing out of the frame at the viewer, calling him or her to witness an intention that is not depicted on the panel but that haunts it from an invisible dimension beyond. Seeing this intention requires the witness to move by means of contemplation beyond the pigment and egg-yolk of the panel toward the archetype. It is this movement that differentiates the icon from an idol, which presents the visible as a full presence with no exit onto alterity. Finally, I hope to show that this distinction between icon and idol is still relevant today, the apophatic movement of the icon providing a valid alternative to our post-modern saturation of visibility.

Affiliations: 1: American University of Sharjah


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Religion and the Arts — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation