I’m writing this blog to share my interest in Christian iconography. Iconography, or the “art of writing with images,” is “like a lost language.” So said Malcolm Miller, the colorful docent at Chartres Cathedral in France. To be sure, the symbols that comprise iconography’s basic script are unfamiliar or meaningless to most of us. Over the years, I’ve spent more than a few hours studying them as an amateur. I’m not a professional art historian or theologian.
My interest in iconography began in 1977 when I took a class on Art & Architecture taught by Fr. Maurice B. McNamee, a delightful Jesuit priest at St. Louis University (SLU). Until I met Fr. McNamee, I simply overlooked the meaning that surrounded me. I sat in church pews on Sunday mornings throughout my life and regarded the painted glass as nothing more than luminous wall paper. It didn’t occur to me that colors (aside from red, white and blue) have meaning, nor did it occur to me that symbolic numbers appear in both sacred and secular architecture. His class opened my eyes.
It’s been more than thirty years since I studied at SLU and in that time I’ve had the good fortune to visit some of the Gothic cathedrals Fr. McNamee enthused about: Chartres, Notre Dame de Paris, Salisbury, and Canterbury. I’ve also had the chance to listen to some excellent docents and tour guides share their knowledge and understanding about those cathedrals.
So, this blog will share some of what I have learned about iconography as well as photos of stained glass and sculpture that I’ve taken along the way. As I write about the photos, I’ll try to identify some of the themes and symbols that connect us to spiritual roots in medieval Europe and beyond. I hope you enjoy it.
Contact Information: Michael Klug; firstname.lastname@example.org