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Christian Icons

Christian icons take many forms, but their most common iterations are painted wooden panels. During the 4th century A.D., Christian theologians began writing extensively about their appearance and function during worship, but icons were likely in use as early as the 1st century A.D.

Byzantine Christians used icons as vehicles to guide their prayers to the divine, but many believed that images were idolatrous and that their use constituted an act of blasphemy. In 726, Emperor Leo III of the Byzantine Empire believed the practice of venerating icons had gone too far and launched a campaign of iconoclasm. He banned the use of icons and ordered the public to destruct all devotional pictures, leading to a period of more than one hundred years of civil unrest. In 843, however, Empress Theodora reversed the law and made the use of icons legal and acceptable once again.

Icons continued to play an important role in the Byzantine world until the collapse of the Empire in 1453, and they are still used by practicing Eastern Orthodox Christians today. Stylistic trends often indicate the geographic region where icons were made. For example, Russian icons are often encased with elaborately-engraved silver or gold frames.


Quick Facts

  • On November 30, 2015, Christie’s London sold a 1899-1908 silver-gilt cloisonné, champlevé, and en plein enamel triptych icon for $311,815
  • On November 24, 2008, Christie’s London sold an icon of the nativity of Christ c. 1400-1425, for $342,250
  • The "Virgin of Vladimir," c. 1130, housed in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, is one of the most valuable Christian icons to survive from the Byzantine period

Recommended Items at Auction

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Antique Eastern Orthodox Wooden Icon Of Theodosius I
Dec 06, 12:00 PM EST
Antique Eastern Orthodox Wooden Icon Of Theodosius I
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $100- $1,000
$503 Bids
Ikone Hierarchen/ icon
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
Ikone Hierarchen/ icon
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Est: €0- €0
€852 Bids
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Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
Ikone/ icon
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Ikone/ icon
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
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Ikone/ icon
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
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Est: €0- €0
€452 Bids
Ikone Christus Pantokrator/ icon
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
Ikone Christus Pantokrator/ icon
by Kunstauktionshaus Günther
Est: €0- €0
€202 Bids
Icon "VIRGIN OF VLADIMIR WITH RED MANTLE, CHILD AND FOUR SAINTS ON THE SIDE"
Dec 15, 2:00 PM CET
Icon "VIRGIN OF VLADIMIR WITH RED MANTLE, CHILD AND FOUR SAINTS ON THE SIDE"
by Viscontea Casa d'Aste s.r.l.
Est: €1,500- €2,000
€9002 Bids
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RUSSIAN ICON WITH SILVER OKLAD SHOWING THE MOTHER OF GOD KAZANSKAYA
Dec 14, 2:00 PM CET
RUSSIAN ICON WITH SILVER OKLAD SHOWING THE MOTHER OF GOD KAZANSKAYA
by Galerie Moenius
Est: €700- €1,400
€7502 Bids
Ikone/ icon
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
Ikone/ icon
by Kunstauktionshaus Günther
Est: €0- €0
€352 Bids
Greek Painted Icon Possibly of St Andrew, 9 x 7 1/2 in. (22.86 x 19.05 cm.)
Dec 06, 10:00 AM EST
Greek Painted Icon Possibly of St Andrew, 9 x 7 1/2 in. (22.86 x 19.05 cm.)
by Weschler's
Est: $50- $100
$402 Bids
DIPINTO
Dec 06, 10:00 AM CET
DIPINTO
by Aste Boetto SRL
Est: €200- €250
€2001 Bid
Ikone Christus Pantokrator/ icon
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
Ikone Christus Pantokrator/ icon
by Kunstauktionshaus Günther
Est: €0- €0
€601 Bid
Icon Kijewo Petscherska Gottesmutter.
Dec 17, 10:00 AM CET
Icon Kijewo Petscherska Gottesmutter.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €280- €400
€2801 Bid
DIPINTO
Dec 06, 10:00 AM CET
DIPINTO
by Aste Boetto SRL
Est: €200- €250
€2001 Bid
Russisch: Hierarch Theodosius
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
Russisch: Hierarch Theodosius
by Kunstauktionshaus Günther
Est: €0- €0
€201 Bid
Ikone im Kastenrahmen/ icon
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
Ikone im Kastenrahmen/ icon
by Kunstauktionshaus Günther
Est: €0- €0
€201 Bid
Monatsikone ¨November¨
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CET
Monatsikone ¨November¨
by Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG
Est: €0- €0
€3001 Bid
DIPINTO
Dec 06, 10:00 AM CET
DIPINTO
by Aste Boetto SRL
Est: €200- €250
€2001 Bid
A PAIR OF RUSSIAN ICONS
Dec 13, 9:00 AM CST
A PAIR OF RUSSIAN ICONS
by Jackson's International
Est: $250- $350
$2251 Bid
A RUSSIAN ORTHODOX WOODEN ICON OF MARY AND JESUS 18TH C.
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
A RUSSIAN ORTHODOX WOODEN ICON OF MARY AND JESUS 18TH C.
by Helios Auctions
Est: $800- $1,000
$6001 Bid
Ikone ¨Das Jüngste Gericht¨
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CET
Ikone ¨Das Jüngste Gericht¨
by Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG
Est: €0- €0
€2801 Bid
Ikone ¨Heiliger Prophet Elias¨
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CET
Ikone ¨Heiliger Prophet Elias¨
by Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG
Est: €0- €0
€3001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Christian Icons


A10 by Artmark

A10 by Artmark

Galerie Moenius

Galerie Moenius

Artmaximum

Artmaximum

Schuler Auktionen

Schuler Auktionen