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What Does Iconography Mean?

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Iconography refers to a pictorial representation of a subject. Iconography is the historical study of art which strives to identify, describe, acknowledge the source and interpret the content of the image. The word "iconograph" means "image writing," in Greek. Icons are used to a large extent in religions like Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism.

As the religion of Christianity became popular, the figureless God took the form of human flesh in the form of Jesus Christ making it possible for Him to be depicted as an icon which could be drawn in the form of an image. The ancient Church fathers believed that a person who shows reverence towards an image is actually showing his intention to respect and adore the person depicted as an icon and not just the icon. Though iconography was widespread in Christianity, it evoked a lot of criticism in the 7th century AD, when certain groups challenged the usage of icons. Today icons are still used a lot by the Eastern Orthodox and Catholics. The Protestant factions only look at them from the point of view as art, and do not have any reverence for them. In Hinduism, icons are symbolic and revered. Islam forbids icon-making and iconography and do not believe in any form of icon worship or idol worship.

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