Iconography Terms

Have you ever wondered what a Deisis might be?

Deisis (Деисус, Gk. for “supplication”) The depiction of the Virgin, John the Baptist and possibly many more saints interceding with Christ on behalf of mankind. The Deisis is the most prominent image on the Iconostasis and is associated with the Last Judgment. Also called “Trimorphon” when only Christ, the Virgin and the Baptist are shown.

Or what an Iconostasis/Iconostas is?

Iconostas (Иконостас, Gk. for “icon wall”) The wall of icons separating the Sanctuary from the nave, also called the Templon. In the center of the Iconostasis are the Royal Doors; the Deacons’ Doors are located on the flanks.

There are many terms in iconography that have their roots in ancient languages and traditions. This list compiled by the Russian Museum of Icons is invaluable in understanding terminology we encounter when studying iconography.

Click here to read and/or download the list of iconography terms.

This invaluable resource of Iconography Terms was Compiled by Nicholas Roumas, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Nick Beinor, Boston College Edited by Raoul Smith, PhD, Museum of Russian Icons