CASC Lumen Magazine_Winter 2021

Murphy Institute News

Artist and iconographer Nicholas Markell ‘84 is pictured in his home studio.

“The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling

among us, and we have seen His glory.” (john 1:14)

The word icon comes to us from the Greek eikon, meaning image. Often referred to as theology in color and windows to heaven, icons are a form of sacred art, the content of which is spiritual – they reveal a vison of a “Kingdom not of this world.” Iconographers paint, create or “write” icons as a way of expressing faith. They incorporate the use of symbols, bringing forth images of restored or renewed creation made possible through life in Christ Jesus. In the realm of art, iconography is the

intersection of art and faith. Icons are images of what is believed. Thus an iconographer is as much a minister as an artisan and an icon as much a sacramental as a work of art.

Every aspect of creating an icon is a reflection of faith. The process is one of study, prayer and inspiration by the Holy Spirit. Traditionally iconographers begin by painting base coats of the dark areas, slowly adding lighter and lighter tones. This reflects the spiritual life – the process of moving from darkness into the light of God. Holy figures are depicted as illuminated from within, revealing the reality that the light of Christ is an interior light within believers.

Here, St. Josephine Bakhita is imaged as transfigured – glorified in Christ. She’s imaged as a dance of illumination, saturated with the light of heaven.

She wears chains, but ones that are broken. Thus, they are no longer a symbol of bondage, but liberation. No longer a limitation or the cause of despair, but of hope. As her left hand points to the Mother of God, who gave her comfort and maternal consolation, her right hand holds a cross, symbolic of the sacrificial love of her Lord Jesus whom she knew died for her and her freedom.

St. Thomas Lumen Fall/Winter 2021 Page 13

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