Donald Schrader headshot

Icons: Windows into the Divine

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Modern viewers often see the icon — a type of religious image still in use in the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches — as a charming and somewhat primitive type of painting. Nothing could be further from the truth. The icon, from its earliest inception, is a highly intellectual and consciously spiritualized image. The beliefs with which icons are infused are so powerful that they have led to their being outlawed for a time in the 8th and 9th centuries, but their meanings are so profound that their use has survived even the most concerted attempts to stifle them. In this lecture, Dr. Schrader introduces the theology behind the icon, briefly recounts the history of icons in the West, and explains the meanings behind some of the most important individual types of religious image.