Loading Spinner

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

See all items

Early Antique Russian Wood and Metal Icon
Oct 30, 9:00 AM MST
Early Antique Russian Wood and Metal Icon
by Fidelity Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$907 Bids
17th Cent. Oil on Copper Russian Icon
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
17th Cent. Oil on Copper Russian Icon
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $100- $1,000
$1005 Bids
AN AMAZING RUSSIAN ICON WITH SILVEROKLAD AND CLOISONNÉ-ENAMEL SHOWING CHRIST PANTOKRATOR
Oct 30, 1:00 PM CEST
AN AMAZING RUSSIAN ICON WITH SILVEROKLAD AND CLOISONNÉ-ENAMEL SHOWING CHRIST PANTOKRATOR
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF7,500- CHF15,000
CHF16,0005 Bids
A LARGE ICON SHOWING THE DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
A LARGE ICON SHOWING THE DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €120- €240
€1204 Bids
Antique Russian Icon
Oct 30, 9:00 AM MST
Antique Russian Icon
by Fidelity Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$254 Bids
Russian Silver Triptych Icon
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Russian Silver Triptych Icon
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $100- $1,000
$1002 Bids
RUSSIAN ICON WITH SILVEROKLAD SHOWING CHRIST PANTOKRATOR
Oct 30, 1:00 PM CEST
RUSSIAN ICON WITH SILVEROKLAD SHOWING CHRIST PANTOKRATOR
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF200- CHF400
CHF2202 Bids
RUSSIAN ICON WITH SILVER BASMA SHOWING ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL
Oct 30, 1:00 PM CEST
RUSSIAN ICON WITH SILVER BASMA SHOWING ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF500- CHF1,000
CHF5502 Bids
Gilt Bronze Holy Water Font and Icon
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
Gilt Bronze Holy Water Font and Icon
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $20- $15,000
$252 Bids
LOT OF 4 RUSSIAN ICONS
Oct 30, 1:00 PM CEST
LOT OF 4 RUSSIAN ICONS
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF200- CHF400
CHF2202 Bids
A LARGE ICON SHOWING THE TWELVE APOSTLES
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
A LARGE ICON SHOWING THE TWELVE APOSTLES
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €300- €600
€3001 Bid
A LARGE ICON OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST AND THE DESCENT
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
A LARGE ICON OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST AND THE DESCENT
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €400- €800
€4001 Bid
IKONE MIT ERWEITERTER DEESIS MIT VERMEIL-RIZA
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
IKONE MIT ERWEITERTER DEESIS MIT VERMEIL-RIZA
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €1,800- €3,600
€1,8001 Bid
A MONUMENTAL ICON SHOWING THE POCHAEVSKAYA MOTHER OF GOD WI
Nov 04, 10:00 AM CET
A MONUMENTAL ICON SHOWING THE POCHAEVSKAYA MOTHER OF GOD WI
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €10,000- €20,000
€10,0001 Bid
AN ICON SHOWING THE TIKHVINSKAYA MOTHER OF GOD WITH A SILVE
Nov 04, 10:00 AM CET
AN ICON SHOWING THE TIKHVINSKAYA MOTHER OF GOD WITH A SILVE
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €800- €1,600
€8001 Bid
AN ICON SHOWING ST. NICHOLAS OF MYRA WITH A SILVER-GILT AND
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
AN ICON SHOWING ST. NICHOLAS OF MYRA WITH A SILVER-GILT AND
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €1,500- €3,000
€1,5001 Bid
RUSSIAN ICON, CIRCA 1600, NOVGOROD SCHOOL
Nov 13, 11:00 AM EST
RUSSIAN ICON, CIRCA 1600, NOVGOROD SCHOOL
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $7,500- $10,000
$3,7501 Bid
A LARGE MELCHITE ICON SHOWING THE MOTHER OF GOD AND SELECTE
Nov 04, 10:00 AM CET
A LARGE MELCHITE ICON SHOWING THE MOTHER OF GOD AND SELECTE
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €200- €400
€2001 Bid
AN ICON SHOWING ST. GEORGE SLAYING THE DRAGON FLANKED BY ST
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
AN ICON SHOWING ST. GEORGE SLAYING THE DRAGON FLANKED BY ST
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €120- €240
€1201 Bid
AN ICON SHOWING ST. CATHERINE
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
AN ICON SHOWING ST. CATHERINE
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €120- €240
€1201 Bid
A MELCHITE ICON SHOWING THE DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
A MELCHITE ICON SHOWING THE DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €400- €800
€4001 Bid
AN ICON SHOWING STS. CONSTANTINE AND HELENA
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
AN ICON SHOWING STS. CONSTANTINE AND HELENA
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €300- €600
€3001 Bid
SIGNED Set of 3 Textured Biblical Icons
Nov 17, 10:00 AM EST
SIGNED Set of 3 Textured Biblical Icons
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $100- $500
$11 Bid
Art Russe
Nov 02, 6:30 PM CET
Art Russe
by Vanderkindere
Est: €350- €450
€3401 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Christian Icons


Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Galerie Moenius

Galerie Moenius

Dane Fine Art Auctions

Dane Fine Art Auctions

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries