Icon Wall Panels In Your Church
WHY AN ICON WALL PANEL?
Before the Reformation, church interiors were covered with a full schema of icons, whether in Romanesque Europe, the Balkans or Greece. The language of the icon was universal, but gradually lost ground as Europe progressed to Reformation.
After the Reformation, church art more and more reflected the personal ideas and personal preferences of individual artists and churchmen, with no cohesive program to enhance the liturgy and transmit the teaching of the Church.
Icon wall panels restore relation between the liturgical environment and the liturgy.
ICON PANEL, CHRIST THE KING, WIMBLEDON
Patronal Icon for 1920’s church, in Georgian Baroque style.
3 MOVEABLE PANELS, CAMBUSLANG
Enhancing a dark wood modern sanctuary during Eastertide
ENHANCING THE ARCHITECTURE
We have some real architectural challenges in Catholic churches today. On the one hand, we have a few ancient or neo-Gothic churches which require rich colour and texture without too much modernity. On the other hand we have bare interiors which are architecturally creative, as far as texture and shape are concerned, but are often bare of devotional images and when old style statues are imported they look out of place. In between we have some stark ‘consecrated warehouses’ - as one priest described his church. Icon wall panels are often the best way of enhancing these environments, without the cost of a complete overhaul.
A WALL PANEL OR A STATUE?
Wall panels are more like statues, than ‘pictures.’ They can also be altar pieces. The real difference is that they are part of the architectural and devotional environment, rather than something you have to get in close to see.
Consider a full size figure icon with devotional candles - installed just the way way you would a statue - Our Lady on one side and a Divine Mercy or Sacred Heart on the other, the key devotional statues at the back of the church. Why not have new saints as full size devotional icons at the back of the church - John Paul II, Mother Teresa, John Henry Newman, pro-life Gianna Molla....
THE STANDING FIGURE
Examples of standing figures show their devotional impact.
THE ABSTRACT MODERN PANEL
Re-ordering at Wanstead- ever changing light on Trinity.
PLAN WALL PANELS INTO NEW CHURCHES
You don’t have to wait until the Church is complete, or the re-ordering of the church is finished to plan in a wall panel. In the great basilicas of the early church the visual artists worked closely with the architects, achieving beauty of colour, texture and shape to complement the mystery of the liturgy.
Bring in the iconographer when you are planning your liturgical environment and draw on their specialist training in the placing and use of images in the church environment. They can help you plan the images so that the particular priorities and devotions of your parish are accentuated.