‘The iconography of an artwork is the imagery within it’ – Tate

After my Unit 3 Recorded Tutorial, It was suggest to me to research into the iconography of artwork. I quickly discovered that this is the semiotic reading of symbols within an images, most of which are religious or mythological. These meanings are completely dependant on their context so where a dove is representative of the holy spirit within the Christian faith, it is representative of a goddess in mythology.

‘An iconography is a particular range or system of types of image used by an artist or artists to convey particular meanings’

When reading an article of Russian Artists displaying their work in a Church Cathedral setting was particularly fascinated by how this manipulates the reading of symbols in their work. It reminded me of visiting Peter Liversidge’s work in the abandoned cathedral exhibition space. The location completely manipulated how I understood his LED work, viewing it more as a shrine than a piece of contemporary art. The Exhibition ‘Soul Seekers’ was curated by both journalist and artist. Darren Jones (artist) commented on the exhibition saying, ‘“We thought: let’s expand the notion of what an icon is and how iconography relates to secular culture generally. An icon today can be anything; a sports brand, fast food restaurant; body is an icon for many people. The most interesting part is, how people attach themselves to such ‘icons.’”

I think this is interesting to consider within the context of my work. when searching for the iconographic meaning of windows I was confronted with information on stained glass windows religious paintings which didn’t answer the question I intended. However, I found a blog review of ‘a Room with a view’ which discusses some of the symbolic meaning of windows:

“What is a window metaphorically? A window is a spiritual entrance through which your soul can travel. If you choose to let it go, your soul can break the glass boundaries created by the window and travel into the greater world; soaking in the sounds, the smells, the sights. A window is a portal; allowing your thoughts to roam around freely. However, a window creates boundaries, as your soul can only travel as far as your eyes can see. You cannot move right, or left; you move in an unwavering straight line. As you gaze out the window, you watch life go by, failing to contribute any involvement. Windows aren’t for proactive people; they are for those who watch rather than do. Those who sit outside of a window usually have a narrow point of view, and aren’t open to anything new or different.”

I think its interesting to view a window as a boundary which contains how far your soul can travel. When considering this within the context of a prison or dente ion camp when the windows are small and contained, deliberately restricting views, it makes us consider the spiritual impact of this as well as the emotional.


Please see: Peter Liversidge @ CGP London & Unit 3 Recorded Tutorial Feedback

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