Icon of Holy Thomas, Angelic Doctor
Located inside the Iversen Center for Faith
“Holy Thomas” icon
In the Fall of 2012, Campus Ministry commissioned Nicholas Markell '84 to write an icon of St. Thomas Aquinas, the University's patron.
Markell wrote the icon called "Holy Thomas" in the tradition of Eastern iconography. The process of writing a sacred image in this style is a form of prayer beginning with the initial design and continuing through its use in Divine Worship.
To learn more, watch a presentation given by iconographer Nicholas Markell all about the creation of the Holy Thomas Icon.
The Meaning Behind the Symbols in the Holy Thomas Icon:Name
- Get back in touch with the word "Holy"
- Non-Aliam Nisi Te
- "Only you Lord" and "What do you ask of me?"
- The Vision of St. Thomas - Christ asked him"What do you ask of me?" and his response was "Only you, Lord."
- Angelic doctor (see angels, fire red)
- Not expressed in face
- Violet in nimbus (halo) symbolizes humanity
- Usually St. Thomas icons have light over chest
From a talk given by Iconographer Nicholas Markell on Tuesday, September 24, 2013:
We say we can write an icon- because we can read it.
Icon is Greek for "image"
- Referred to as the visible word- corresponding to the scripture
- Rooted in scripture: Gen 1:26
Icons are to be given the same veneration as the life-giving cross and the book of the Gospels- Nicea II
CCC 1160: Period of "Christian Iconography"
"Icons evoke a hunger for God." St. John Damascus
"It is a proclamation of the Gospel in line and color and it is an invitation to a relationship..."
Icon resonates with the intellect of the heart- not only of this world.
Corresponds with the Beatific Vision.
What distinguishes an icon from other images in the world?
- Must be theoretically correct (mind of the church)
- Artistically Appropriate (bears the weight of mystery)
- Spark senses of divine. Can walk the bridge between the natural and supernatural world.
- Symbolic Language (visual language)
7 Principles of the Icon
- Radiance: Christ is light- a spiritual light (gold - symbolizes divine light)
- Perspective: Can suspend laws of nature to bring forth theological truth
- 2-dimensional image- the window to heaven
- See through it to another world- opens up other images
- Anatomy: images are living in a transfigured body- sometimes elongated- looks larger than life
- Meaning beyond itself- opens up concepts
- E.g. Ship symbolizes the church itself, Paul with the sword, Peter with staff/keys
- Shows heaven- harmony and fulfilled
- Royalness shows we are heir to the Kingdom
- Creation: We are part of the created world
Steps in the Process
- All natural materials are used
- Gold has a clay base (red). After base- breathe hot air when putting gold down. This symbolizes the breath of God.
- Move from dark to light (darkness to spiritual light) of Christ
- They never paint shadows - bring light to where there was darkness
- Four Lights - go in these stages
- Light of God
Mixing colors creates a relationship in the colors called the incarnation of color.
Visit the Hoedeman Gallery
The Hoedeman Gallery of Sacred Art features exhibitions that reflects the rich diversity of the university community. It offers opportunities for reflection, but also learning and engagement with the arts.