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In the mid to late 17th century there was a great flowering of great iconography coming out of Crete, and Michael Damaskinos was a famous Cretan iconographer from this period. He painted both of these icons which together make a wonderful matched set of icons. He lived and worked both in Crete and also in Venice and was remarkable in the deep spirituality and bright colors that his icons show so well.
Both Christ and the Theotokos icons show them standing in half figures. They are stunning and give almost a transparent spiritual quality to the faces. Damaskinos also was known for his use of a particular rose color which can be seen clearly in these two icons, and also by his lighter than common flesh tones different from the icons of his time. He was a leader in the famous Cretan icon school, which was also very influenced by a brother Cretan, Emmanuel Tzanes.
Icons are living windows by which we can see into Heaven, and Heaven and Its dwellers are more present and alive to us. This is to make a direct contact from here to the future but still ever-present Life with Christ. The use of icons even predates the written Gospels, as the first was made by Christ Himself when He pressed His face to a cloth, called “the icon not-made-by-hands.” St. Luke painted the next icons, so this tradition is very ancient indeed. For so many people this is a direct way to interface with the reality of God’s presence here and in the world to come.
Let us see with our minds uplifted by these truly great icons, and turn our hearts and minds to Jesus Christ, our ever-living God, and ask His blessing!
To see more about these two wonderful icons click on their picture and then click on the description below.