Now a group of students are taking a crack at creating their own masterpiece by enrolling in an icon making course.
Iconographer Ivan Polverari teaches the 6 day class, steps away from St. Peter’s Square.
The first assignment is to make their own version of this12th century Byzantine icon, a not so easy task.
“The most difficult thing about making an icon is illustrating expression, the expression brings out the real person.”
But there’s a deeper dimension to an icon, one that isn’t visible to the naked eye.
An icon is viewed as an expression of the Christian message.
Icons date back to the first millennium, before eastern and western divisions.
So to Polverari, an icon is not only the first type of Christian art but also the Church’s first language.
“The icon is the language of the Church. It’s the art of the church the first way in which the church began to express its divine mysteries”
As for the students while they may have joined the class for a lesson on icons, they walked out with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Christian art, theology and history.