from the Greek word for religious images of all kinds, in all
materials, and of every dimension. Objects of worship but also
objets d’art, icons are linked to the Orthodox
faith but also to the history of art. They are the tokens of a
worldview that has inspired theologians as well as artists. In
this regard, Jean-Claude Marcadé reminds us of the importance
of Kandinsky’s discovery of painted and printed icons in
those izbas of Northern Russia in which the painter says he learned
“not to look at the picture sidelong, but to move
within the picture, to live in the picture.” He offers
us the keys to understanding the contemporary debate within post-Soviet
Russia, where the dual status of icons remains of topical interest.
Some Orthodox believers would like to see these venerated images
returned to the churches, whereas they had previously been moved
to museums where one sometimes see the faithful come to pray.
Taking the writings of Nicolai Tarabukin (1889-1956) and Father
Pavel Florensky (1882-1937) as their starting points, Marcadé,
a great specialist of Russian art, as well as Igor Sokologorsky,
a philosopher, study the interpretative aspect of these forms
in traditional as well as modern art.