If you think that religious icons are the last thing people purchase and collect, you are completely wrong. On the contrary, owning these religious artefacts is a trendy activity the reasons for which may be very diverse. The icon has two origins: it is both a sacral object and a painting. It is venerated, prayed with, and, at the same time, admired as an art piece. All these things form and develop the reasons why people collect religious icons and preserve them in their homes.
In the 20th century, collecting religious icons began to acquire a mass character. The first art collectors, who rushed to collect ancient works of sacred art, achieved stunning success. Since then, the collection of these beautiful objects has become available to everyone. Now let’s take a closer look at the reasons why people collect religious art.
- Creating a sanctuary
Icon collecting is seen as a way for all the devotees to create a sanctuary in their homes, where they can pray with and venerate these religious pieces. With antique religious icons, faithful people enhance their prayers and make them closer to God. Besides, icons are believed to fill the place where they are kept with peace and tranquillity so that people can return there again and again to feel the connection with the spiritual world. This is indeed a valid reason to collect these amazing religious objects.
- For the sake of aesthetic beauty
Icons are collected not only because of their spiritual meaning but also because of their aesthetic beauty that pleases the eye of everyone who possesses them. In this sense, collecting icons is similar to collecting fine art pieces. The aesthetics we expect from visual art are preserved in religious icons as well.
- Preserving century-old traditions
Icon painting is a true living tradition. To collect these antique pieces is equal to preserving the treasures of the past. The icons have an incredibly tragic destiny. In fact, many of them survived to these days only thanks to the faithful and dedicated collectors. Therefore, many people are now becoming a kind of keepers of this special culture and heritage, and this very feeling inspires them to continue and promote the art of collecting religious icons to others.
- The art of restoration
Until the early 20th century, antique icons were mainly perceived as cult objects and were kept as they were. Icon restoration appeared later when collectors tried to revive old religious icons by removing the top layer of olive oil varnish that had darkened over the years. Sometimes, they even found another image hidden under the upper layer of paint. Icon restoration has eventually become a pure pleasure for collectors because, under the dark top layer, old icons can hide real treasures that must be found and preserved.
- Passion for collecting unique items
Collecting icons may be a meaningful experience for lots of people; however, some collectors are simply followed by their passion for purchasing different unique items. Antique icons are among those things that dedicated collectors want to own. Moreover, icon collecting is now a trendy thing to do.
Despite all the probable reasons why people enjoy collecting antique icons, there is one important thing to be mentioned: you do not need to have a good reason to start collecting these beautiful artefacts. Just follow your heart and instincts. The chances are that, at some point, you will find yourself ready to dive into a special world of collecting religious art that will enchant you not only with its magnificent performance but also with its sacred nature.