The Transfiguration by Mary Elizabeth Podles

A Thousand Words by Mary Elizabeth Podles

The Transfiguration

by Theophanes the Greek

In the Orthodox tradition, the first image that an iconographer "writes" is one of the Transfiguration, since every icon he will make thereafter is to be a reflection of the transfigured Christ. This Transfiguration, by the accomplished Theophanes the Greek (c.1340–1405), was surely not his first; it might have been his last. Theophanes had studied art and philosophy at the University at Constantinople, but by the late fourteenth century, that city was a good place to leave. He travelled in 1370 to Novgorod, and in 1375 to Moscow (where this icon now hangs, in the Tretyakov Gallery). In Moscow, he was a teacher to the iconographer Andrei Rublev, and an important influence on the shape of Russian icons for centuries to come.

Traditionally, the Transfiguration icon is divided into two zones, the heavenly apparition above and the earthly realm below. Theophanes observes the convention, but has unified the two halves with an overall warm color scheme of gold, reds, and earth tones, as if to say that at this moment the two worlds have become one.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Mary Elizabeth Podles is the retired curator of Renaissance and Baroque art at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She and her husband Leon, a Touchstone senior editor, have six children and live in Baltimore, Maryland.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on art from the online archives

33.2—March/April 2020

Christ Chapel at Hillsdale

An Architectural Sign of Mere Christianity by Michael Ward

32.4—July/August 2019

Sojourner Knight

on Single-Mindedness in Durer's Ritter, Tod, und Teufel by Anthony Costello

30.3—May/June 2017

St. Luke the Evangelist

by Mary Elizabeth Podles


more from the online archives

30.3—May/June 2017

Known Trespassing

on the Misuse of Property Rights to Justify Slavery & Abortion by Robert Hart

24.1—January/February 2011

Sanger's Victory

How Planned Parenthood's Founder Played the Christians, and Won by Allan C. Carlson

18.2—March 2005

Long Shadows of Eden

On Conservatism as Vexation, Vanity & Near Impossibility by Graeme Hunter

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00