Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography

Paraclete Press was kind enough to send me a pre-publication complimentary .pdf of Hidden and Triumphant. The book is a translation of a Russian work. I don't read Russian and have no access to the original, so I cannot comment on how faithful the translation is to the original but the translation is written in good English. The bulk of the book covers the how iconography was preserved during communist persecution. Overall, the book is excellent and well-written. I did get a little bored in the middle of the book but if someone was more interested in Russian history than I am they probably wouldn't be bored at all. The introduction has one of the best introductions to icons that I have ever seen anywhere. The author does a good job of explaining the meaning of the various colors and symbols and why icons are painted the way that they are and the theology behind the icons. I am less willing to accept all the miracles attributed to the icons than the author but the author takes a pretty balanced view overall and is critical of some superstitious uses of icons. I also enjoyed the appendixes which contained some very interesting information about modern iconography. The book provides few examples of some very beautiful icons. I wish there were more but I'm sure that would drive the price of the book up significantly.

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