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2017 Vol. 8 №1

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Rhythm and Metaphor in the Art of the Icon



Using art history interpretation methods and the methods of historical cultural studies, the author demonstrates the role of rhythm and metaphor as the most expressive artistic means of icon painting. The interaction of rhythm and metaphor is an integral part of the imagery and semantics of icon painting. It is stressed that the entire theological and aesthetic image of icons, which is based on rhythm and metaphor, expresses the cosmogonic ideas of the Church Fathers. However, the practical realisation of this image would have been impossible without the conscious creative contribution of the artist. Icon painters never perceived iconography as a dogmatic prescription. Iconography played the role of a cognitive scheme steering artists’ creative ideas. Creating visual metaphors required the development of rhythmic symmetry, based on linear repetitions and figurative semblances of elements. This principle of iconography is clearly seen in Russian icon painting.


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