While in Banja Luka, I was drawn to visiting the Orthodox Church in the city center. Nearby was a shop selling icons, which I find beautiful and strange. These remind me of Marco, my outstanding architecture professor who inspired me to imagine the sacred. Raised as an atheist, I find those who are drawn to such images a bit unfathomable. But inside this church, I watched young girls approach and then kiss the icons of the various saints. I saw an older woman praying with her beads, while another woman swept. I watched a stream of people buy candles to light in the chapel.
Looking at these icons as a art historian, I am taken by how the Madonna figure overwhelms the Christ figure. The feminine principle. The beauty in these suggestive two-dimensional icons, neither painting or sculpture, remind me of the John Hejduk’s late paintings. what sort of connection can be drawn from these to his images of angels? The heavy painting on the paper that are nearly three-dimensional are so akin to the icons.