Byzantine Iconography Series 1: Drawing the Face



Anyone wanting to learn Byzantine Iconography needs to lay the right foundation. Simply tracing old icons or jumping straight into painting (“by numbers”) only builds a house of cards that will collapse. The foundation for being able to paint iconsis learning to draw according to the Byzantine system. Once the foundation is laid (and practiced continually) it allows us to create within the iconographictradition of the Orthodox Church and not simply “photocopy” old icons ( a practice that appeared in the 20th century and was never part of the tradition of the Church). In this first course on drawing icons we will start by learning the importance of line and how line is used to create the rhythm that brings icons to life. From there we will progress to drawing the face in several poses:The frontal pose ( and we will see why it is not used in Byzantine iconography)The dynamic frontal poseThe dynamic frontal pose on curved axesAscetic Faces and beardsThe reverential 3/4 poseThe upward facing 3/4 poseand the face of the Infant ChristWe will study different types of faces in each pose (young face, woman’s face, ascetic or elderly face) so we can see how each type of face is drawn in each pose.