Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Media, Art, and Text

First Advisor

Joshua Eckhardt


From Tempera to Ink to Code traces the remediation of Orthodox icons. It examines icons’ unexplored, other media: cheap print, the book and digital media. Its interdisciplinary, cross-medial approach draws upon the fields of media studies, art history, art practice, religious studies, history and bibliography to establish an alternative way of viewing and understanding the icon beyond its original medium. The study focuses on the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God as one of the most venerable Russian Orthodox icons. It traces the Vladimir icon’s process of remediation from tempera on wooden panel to loose print, to bound codex and to digital form. It brings into focus the icon’s less researched, mass-produced media and applies the methods of art historical and bibliographic research to all media in question with equal scrutiny and attention. The dissertation provides a new way of looking at the storage, handling and display of icons in all their media. It categorizes the icon’s media into two groups: display media (tempera icons and loose prints) and storage/cache media (books and digital images). The display media invite veneration and thereby retain an “aura,” in the terminology of Walter Benjamin and David Morgan. Storage media, on the other hand, discourage veneration and, so, accrue no such aura. The study concludes that the loss of an object’s aura happens in unexpected aspects of remediation—in the binding, coding and, in a word, storing of information. The relationship that the study draws between the codex and hard drive has important implications for both book history and media studies, whereas its discussion of remediation, veneration and aura offer valuable contributions to the fields of iconology and iconography.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

Available for download on Friday, May 13, 2214