The Meaning of Icons
In the last decades, the art of icons has gained increased attention. Once icons were passed over by the art critics, or at most classified as popular art, although painters such as Matisse or Picasso went to Russia especially for the sake of studying this art. Most recently many books have been published on icon painting. Yet the present work is the first of its kind to give a reliable introduction into the spiritual background of this art.
The nature of the icon cannot be grasped by means of pure art criticism, nor by the adoption of a sentimental point of view. Its forms are based on the wisdom contained in the theological and liturgical writings of the Eastern Orthodox Church and are intimately bound up with the experience of the contemplative life.
This introduction into the meaning and the language of the icons by Ouspensky imparts to us in an admirable way the spiritual conceptions of the Eastern Orthodox Church which are often so foreign to us, but without the knowledge of which we cannot possibly understand the world of the icon.