Friday, January 28, 2011

Two More Coptic Style Icons by Dr Stephan Rene

Further to a recent posting about a Coptic style Stella Maris icon, here are two more icons by Dr Stephane Rene in his ‘neo-Coptic’ style. St Joseph of the House of David and Mary Mother of the City are in St Joseph’s Catholic church, in Bunhill Row in the City of London. I remember this Church because it is just around the corner from the offices of the Catholic Herald, where I once worked. They come courtesy of a NLM reader who brought them to my notice. So if you're reading thank you Martin Pendergast and Sr Jean for supplying the images.

The name, St Joseph of the House of David, is a reference to the fact that St Joseph, although poor, was of the Royal House of David. There are four narrative scenes from the gospel in each corner. The one of the Holy Family in a boat is depicting them on the Nile - representing the period of exile. Notice also the beautiful patterned border the Dr Rene has designed.

In this huge icon (3 metres x 2 metres). Mary is shown coming from an enclosed garden (a reference to the sybolism in the Song of Songs). The peacock is a traditional symbol of eternal life. The stream flowing from a cave represents the womb from which Christ emerged to live among us and give us the living water.

Above and below are in situ photographs (kindly taken especially for this by Mr Pendergast) to give a feel for the scale of the icons.

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