Iconography in Art

What is iconography in art?

Iconography as an intellectual art history field of study emerged in the 19th century through the writings of academics such as Anton Heinrich Springer, Adolphe Napoleon Didron, and Émile Mâle, all of whom were experts in Christian religious paintings, which was the primary topic of study during this era, in which French academics were particularly prevalent. Iconography involves categorizing artworks by subject. 

the foundations of iconography 

These initial works opened the way for encyclopedias, guides, and other books that aid in the identification of art elements.

Iconography in the 20th century 

Technological improvements enabled the creation of massive collections of photos with an iconographic order such as the Warburg Institute’s and Princeton’s Index of Medieval Art.

Types of Iconography in Art

iconography of indian religions

The artwork of Indian religions, such as Hinduism, is controlled by sacred books known as Aagama, which explain the ratios and proportions of the icon, known as taalmaana.

iconography of the christian religion

Christian art incorporates Christian iconography, which was extensively developed throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods, and is an important component of Christian media.

iconography of the christian religion

Numerous iconic kinds of Christ, Mary, saints, and other topics were established in both the East and the West.

iconography of western secular art

From the Renaissance onwards, secular artwork became far more widespread in the Western world, developing its own culture and norms of iconography.

Types of Iconography in Art

St Stephen (1476)  Carlo Crivelli

Christ Carrying the Cross (c. 1580) El Greco

Pastorales Tahitiennes (1892) Paul Gauguin

Arnolfini Portrait (1434) Jan van Eyck