Icon of the Pantocrator (Detail of J23)(Hilandar) – J25


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This is a detail of the famous Pantocrator (the Greek word for “Ruler of All”) icon at Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos painted in 1260-1270.  This icon was rendered in egg-tempera and shows the classical Byzantine iconographic influence of some of the best periods of early iconography, often portraying Christ in His Majesty and compassion.  It has as well elements and stylization of other similar icons of Christ from the mid-13th century, especially in Macedonia and Serbia.

Icons are always more than just humanistic and naturalistic art, for the human perspective is limited by its own limiting self-awareness that cannot become truly objective from an Eternal point of view.  This objectivity is just what a true icon expresses, both the state of creation and who is being depicted at the very end of time, often involving some abstraction or non-naturalistic perspectives.  Thus Christ here has a long thin nose, wide set eyes which are open and aware, a pronounced brow, and a look of profound intentional insight into us, making us think about our own interior state now and in Eternity.  Looking inside may we find Him in our hearts!

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Hilandar Monastery, Mt. Athos, Greece


13th c. (Mid)