Quote Originally Posted by tim atherton
an icon isn't (or at least isn't only) a representation or depiction of something or merely a symbol for it, but rather a window or "portal" (to use a currently popularised word) - and even those two descriptions are inadequate. The icon actually embodies some of what portrays. In religious terms, this is one of the major differences between eastern icons and western statues. The statue of a saint is generally just a representation of the saint or whatever (however holy it may be). The icon, by contrast, has a direct connection (as it were) with what or who it portrays.. When viewing the icon, you are - in a real if limited sense - actually seeing who is portrayed.

Like all apologies. not a 100% fit, but pretty close to the point being made.

(and don't bother doing a Wiki check on "icons" - the intro to their piece is about as incorrect as you can get - which is why i always approach the Wikipedia with caution. I find at least 1 in 2 of the entries I know something about in detail to have numerous mistakes)

It's a pretty interesting subject for me actually. You see - I would generally agree with your description of an 'icon' - and to me this is the merging of subject/object - more specifically - the merging of meaning with representation. It is frequently with religious objects that the two are the same. I did my master's thesis exploring the roots of contemporary museology/art galleries - and found that the 'birth of representation' really happened during the discovery of the new world, before which, you could never really separate the two. New world objects, Pagan objects which had no place in christian culture as such would be placed in the 'curiosity cabinet' so as not to be ideologically problematic for viewers. But this forced a split, supposedly, and suddenly we were confronted with the concept of the object representing something foreign, something 'other'.

Though (and perhaps we're talkin' the same game here) I take something transparent to be an object through which exists a subject - that is - the 'art object' which may be an Adams print, say, with it's own aesthetic qualities common to all Adams' prints - but who also have a subject, on whichever level you may care to interpret the word.

Anyway- just thought I'd throw that in there. Do with it what you will.