Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I apologize to those waiting to see more art history lessons posted here.  My family and I have had some unexpected challenges so I have not had time lately to work on this blog.  I hope to get back to posting more lessons and craft projects when things settle down for us.  Thank you for your patience and enjoy the lessons I have posted so far.
Jeannie Sophia


  1. Hi, I am an art teacher at a private Christian school. We use the classical school format and I teach a lot of art history. I just want you to know how much I appreciate you posting on Byzantine art. I am going to use soem of your resources. Thank you. If you are able to post again, I would love to see your ideas on teaching children about icons.

  2. Janice, Thank you for your comment. When teaching kids about icons I like to show them a few examples of icons (I have quite a few on hand, but you can print off copies from the internet) and I explain some of the symbolic details of these icons. Children really like looking for these details. Some examples are the color of clothing used. The Theotokos (Greek for God-Bearer) wears red outer garments and blue inner garments. The red is the color of humanity. Blue is the color of divinity so her inner garments are blue since she carried God (Jesus who was fully God) inside of her. Jesus appears in icons wearing blue outer garments and red inner garments - the opposite of Mary, the Theotokos. The divine person of Jesus put on or took on our humanity. Another symbol used is a cloth draped across the background objects. This signifies that the scene is taking place indoors. You will see this often in the Annunication icon. Also in the Annunication, Mary is usually depicted holding some yarn. This signifies that Jesus is already being knit in her womb. In some icons Saints are often shown with objects that are associated with them such as St. Katherine and a wheel that was supposed to be used to torture her, but which broke apart when she touched it. There are lots of interesting symbols to point out to children in icons. I usually talk about icons in a lesson with Byzantine mosaics and show the children some painted icons, but also mosaic icons in famous churches- then we do the mosaic project. Children could also color in a line drawing of an icon of Jesus or Mary and be instructed to pretend to be an iconagrapher and color it in very carefully and reverently using the correct symbolic colors. You could talk a little about iconographers and how they need to have a good relationship with God, attend church regularly and pray often and before they begin an icon. The artist also adheres to very strict criteria when creating the icon. The facial features are often enlongated, everything looks very 2-dimensional, etc. This is to give the icon a feeling of something spiritual with a deeper meaning instead of depicting the objects and people more realistically and earthly. I like to use the children's book Pictures of God by John Kosmas Skinas as a guide when teaching children about icons. Hope that helps! So glad you teach art history at your school. It's so wonderful the children have a chance to learn about art.

  3. Thank you for replying and I will continue to follow your posts. Right now I am teaching about the Book of Kells. Next I will begin Byzantine Art and show the Hagia Sophia.