I fear that every lover of traditional Eastern Icons will shudder at this copy of St. Andrei Rublev's Icon of the Blessed Trinity. My good friend commissioned it for the cover of his ordination invitations and will be ordained to the priesthood in the near future. As a draftsman who is relatively unschooled as a painter, I feel that I have transgressed the rules surrounding sacred icons by rendering this piece in pen and ink. That being said, it was still a great spiritual experience for me to research the icon and pray before and during the execution of this copy.
For those who have never seen the icon, the scene is taken from the book of Genesis and the story of Abraham's three angelic visitors who prophesied the birth of Isaac. Early Christian theologians immediately saw this encounter to be an subtle forerunner of the Divine Trinity, three persons in One God.
I was struck while working on this project by the stark contrast between western Christian artists and their eastern counterparts. Art history in the west has not expected its Christian artists to be saintly or holy, but the east expects its iconographers to be holy in both their personal lives and in the execution of their work. Generally, it seems that the west is marked by pride in its work, while the east is marked by selflessness(Icon painters do not sign their work, and in this instance neither have I). Having finished this poor copy, I stand in awe of their dedication and their legacy of sacred art.
"One can say without fear of contradiction, that nowhere in the world is there anything like [Andre Rublev's icon of the Holy Trinity] from the point of view of theological synthesis, symbolic richness and artistic beauty." -Paul Evdokimov