- uploaded: Nov 14, 2011
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Icon of John Baptist is shown as an Angel of Adam making Jews, the sons of Abraham. After sharing some about the iconography of the Harrowing of Hell many of you encouraged me to share, as I make discoveries, a bit about other Greek Orthodox icons.
The iconography of John the Baptist has some interesting features.
First, as can be seen in the first two examples, as a sign of his martyrdom, John's severed head is often portrayed. Generally on a platter. In the first icon the head in on the ground at the bottom left. In the second icon John is holding his head.
John is also often depicted holding some text which generally gives the content of one or both of his more famous prophetic declarations:
"Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!"
"Repent, for the Royal Kingdom of God is at hand!"
In many icons you also see a tree with an ax at its base. In the first icon (16th Century) you can just see the ax and tree just behind John's left leg. The ax and tree are more clear in the second icon which is modern. But you have to look close for the ax as it blends in with the rock behind. The Ax and Tree are also echos of John's message:
And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2008/03/iconography-of-john-bap...