A quote from Fr. Stamatis Skliris, priest, iconographer and medical doctor whose icons I’ve posted here in the past (here,here) from an interview I found in a recent issue of Pravoslavlje, the publication of the Serbian Patriarchate, when he was asked for his thoughts on the current state of iconography:
“I would begin with the words of one painter and professor at the Academy “Bozar” in Paris, who is not a member of the Church. When he came to one of my exhibits in Paris and saw my Theotokos of Vladimir, he said, “You know what, that you painted a copy of an icon from the 11th, 12th century, for me as a contemporary man, means nothing. It only means that people in the 11th century believed that the Theotokos gave birth to Christ. If you as a contemporary man want to preach Christ and the Theotokos, you have to find a contemporary manner of painting, so that we are convinced that that which you are preaching is true. Everything you transfer from the past, it is not real, that is, it’s not yours; those are others who lived that faith and you only show us that they had faith.
This was the essential question for me. Secondly, the late Fr. Porphyrios, at one time in Athens asked me: “Why do you iconographers put some sort of shadows on the faces, between the forehead and the nose?” My answer was that it was the Byzantine style. This holy man answered: “Do not stick to that! It is important that a Saint, when he is in the grace of God, is all in light and has no shadows. Please portray that in the icons. This is reality! That is the truth of the Saint!” And he himself (Fr. Porphyrios) resided in light…”.
A small snippet. If I get a chance I’ll translate more.