I. VIDEOS IN ENGLISH
Speculation in Paint—a must-see for all icon-lovers—is another in the ST. INNOCENT/FIREBIRD Videos series of English voice-overs of out-standing Russian-made videos about the Orthodox Faith and culture. Ideal for many educational uses, this concise and engrossing video will engage the viewer, as it contrasts the opposing world-views of authentic Orthodox icons with Western religious painting, and what each says about the conflict between good and evil, and the meaning and purpose of life. How the different painting styles and techniques convey different spiritual and theological concepts is explained. Authentic icons—those that correctly reflect Orthodox theology—are contrasted to inauthentic westernized "pseudo-icons," and compared to the world-view reflected in Western religious paintings. The sensuality of Western art—especially the way the flesh is portrayed as sensual, fat and blubbery in Rubens’ paintings—is contrasted to the asceticism of authentic Russian icons, where the flesh is thin and gaunt. The asceticism of icons proclaims the victory over our beastly nature, the end of Satan’s power, and the deification of the fallen world.
This video also discusses how Western paintings and icons express the universal struggle between good and evil—between the "reign of the beast," especially evident in war and in the depiction of evil in paintings by Hieronymous Bosch, that is in sharp contrast to icons—where evil is overcome by the power of Christ’s Resurrection. The video presents these opposing world-views as a challenge for the viewer to choose sides now between making the universe into a zoo, ruled by "the Beast," or making the universe into a unified temple of the Living God, of which the Orthodox church- temple is a model.
Numerous examples of the finest old Russian icons are shown, plus many contemporary icons, including some by Archimandrite Fr. Zenon, who served as a consultant for this video about the meaning of authentic Orthodox icons.