Aesthetics and theology in mediaeval icons

02/12/16
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Dr Albert Moya, who is also Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at UIC Barcelona, participated in the VII International Ibero-American Conference of the “De relatione” Society of Mediaeval Philosophy which was held at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) between 14 and 16 November, on the occasion of the six centenary of the death of Ramon Llull. He gave a talk entitled “Aesthetics and theology in mediaeval icons”.

Aesthetics and theology in mediaeval icons

His talk can be summarised as follows:  The mediaeval iconic tradition is a privileged meeting point to trace and determine, both historically and speculatively, the links between the aesthetic experience and Christian theology. Presented as a symbol of incarnation and a window onto the absolute, the icon reached a higher stature in art in mediaeval times. It reached this stature because on the one hand it is capable of making the invisible visible to a greater extent than any other art form, and on the other hand, for believers, it is an efficient medium for salvation, and even has a sacramental statute, within the context of the Orthodox Church.

Based on this tradition, icons which are the subject of special veneration tend to have the ability to accumulate the Presence of God and prayer in the Church through the same sensitive element, thus transforming the material into a translucid image with transcendental content and recognising in it a full ontological statute.