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The Uncreated Light: An Iconographiocal Study of the Transfiguration In the Eastern Church [Hardcover]

By Solrunn Nes & Arlyne Moi (Translator)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   187
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.24" Width: 6.3" Height: 0.83"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2007
ISBN  0802817645  
EAN  9780802817648  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A distinguished religious artist explores the beauty and truth found in icons of Christ's transfiguration.

Publishers Description
Distinguished religious artist Solrunn Nes in this volume explores the beauty and truth found in icons of Christ's transfiguration. As Nes observes in her introduction, the transfiguration of Jesus Christ is an especially rich subject in the abundant iconographical tradition of the Eastern Church. In weaving together iconographical representations and theological interpretation, The Uncreated Light is itself a beautiful exploration of this subject. Structured according to the biblical account of Christ's transfiguration, the book is divided into three main parts. The first, corresponding with the ascent up the mountain, presents the iconographical theme in four representative works of previous centuries. The second section focuses on the "vision of light" and considers the Orthodox interpretation of the event based on a selection of art and texts. The third and final section parallels the descent back down the mountain; here Nes goes back to the icons themselves, interpreting them anew in light of the insights gained under the "vision of light." Including full-color plates of the icons discussed and a lengthy appendix, The Uncreated Light is a testament to the author's own artistic grace and to her deep understanding of iconographical art as an expression of faith.

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More About Solrunn Nes & Arlyne Moi

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Solrunn Nes is an art historian, freelance lecturer, and writer. Her highly regarded iconography can be seen in such places as Aylesford Priory in England and St. Pauls Church in Bergen, Norway.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Historical Study of Transfiguration Icon  Sep 27, 2008
This is an excellent historical study of the Icon of the Transfiguration in the Eastern Church. The author, herself an iconographer, examines representations of the Transfiguration from the 6th C. forward to the most famous representation by Theophane the Greek in the 15th C. She discusses all aspects of these representations including the detailed theology of the icon as well as information on the artistic renderings of the various images. The book has good color illustrations as well as a few in black and white.
Radiant Light  Sep 28, 2007
Solrunn Nes's own iconographic work is strikingly her own, yet it is well within the Church's tradition. Her icons are bright, spare, free of busyness and visual "noise," and immediate to the beholder. Perhaps it is the provenance of her work, painted in her homeland of Norway, that inspires something of its luminosity and vibrancy of color.

The highest compliment I can pay her work, though, is that it induces one to pray and to conceive a desire for the True Beauty objectively reflected there. (One can view her work, though reproductions cannot do full justice to it, on the Internet at [...], as well as in her beautiful and informative earlier book, The Mystical Language of Icons, an expanded version of which has been reissued this year.)

"The Uncreated Light" is centered on the Gospel accounts of the Transfiguration, as rendered and interpreted in four representative portrayals spanning the sixth through the fifteenth centuries (and supplemented by four other works).

With this as its focus, it is nevertheless a statement about the human person in his relation to God. One can find the key to Nes's thesis in this: "Theosis [the deification of the believer] does not imply that the difference between the divine and the human is erased. On the contrary, greater likeness with God will make man more human since the deified man has developed his God-given potential. . . . Iron which is heated by fire is still iron, but is different from cold iron in that it can be formed" (emphasis mine). The point is that the human person is not lost, or disintegrated, or broken down, or made to vanish in his encounter with God. Nothing of the truly human, including personal identity, is "left behind," but is taken up, made infinite and more fully itself in communion with the deifying Christ--human iron infused with divine fire.

In the book, Nes does what most art historians do. She gives us insightful descriptions of two sixth-century apse mosaics, an eleventh-century manuscript illumination, and a fifteenth-century Russian icon of the Transfiguration. But the book is richly theological in a way that art history books generally are not. She "exegetes" the art through two theological controversies that stand as historical bookends for the centuries she covers: eighth-century Iconoclasm (the attempted eradication of iconography) at one end, and the fourteenth-century Hesychasm (dealing with matters of mystical prayer) at the other. Without this grasp of the relevant theology, we soon realize, one could miss so very much that is vital to the iconography itself.

The three-part structure of the book--"Ascent," "Vision," and "Descent"--assumes the shape of the Transfiguration accounts and, by extension, the eastern-patristic path of the mystical journey. Nes shows just how multivalent the Transfiguration of Christ is: In other words, she shows how the various depictions themselves elucidate such perennial truths as the Incarnation, the glory of the Cross, eschatology, and human deification.

She reminds us that, in this event, we find delineated that combination of fear and worship that does not threaten to destroy our fragility or extinguish our identity. Our God descended to lift human nature into the uncreated light, and the human person, united to him, is transfigured in a love beyond comprehension. Out of the fear and worship of the holy mountain comes a reassuring word of comfort.

This volume includes an extensive appendix of scriptural and patristic citations and 15 pages of color plates. It belongs alongside other important works exploring the art of the Church, and its theological weight is especially to be appreciated.

Addison H. Hart is a Roman Catholic priest, assigned to Christ the Teacher University Parish and the Newman Catholic Center for Northern Illinois University. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone, in which a version of this review first appeared.

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