Question 13: Where can we find examples of the Hesychast style of iconography?


Where can we find examples of the Hesychast style of iconography?


Generally speaking, as Prof. Panayiotes Chrestou points out (in a recorded lecture, 1982), following the Hesychast Controversy and the positive outcomes of the three Councils of 1441, 1347, and 1351, no aspect of the life of the Church remained untouched by the theology of Palamas and the other great Hesychasts of this period. Among them, and a chief means by which the Hesychast spirit was transmitted, was the iconography engendered. 

The Hesychastic style of iconography - the iconography of the 13th and 14th centuries and later - is known, erroneously, as that of the Cretan School. Among its exponents are such artists as Theophanes the Greek (Rus. Feofan Grec, 1340-1410) and the other "El Greco" (Domenikos Theotokopoulos, 1541-1614), mentioned in Episode 2: The Emperor's 6 Questions, of "St. Gregory Palamas: An Introduction"; and also, later, Theophanes the Cretan (16th century).

For examples of their works, see e.g. Feofan Grec's icons of Daniel the Stylite and Macarius of Egypt. An icon of the Mother of God, painted by El Greco in the Hesychast style, was recently discovered and displayed in an exhibition called, "From Byzantium to El Greco" in London and New York. And a number of well-known icons by Theophanes the Cretan are to be found at the Holy Monastery of Stavronikita on Mount Athos.