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Federico José Xamist: "The core topic of the cross between Art and Theology is given in the Incarnation".

The iconographer participated in the Symposium held at the University of Navarra.

Image description
Xamist in front of his 'Deisis' that he gave to the Schools Ecclesiastics of the University of Navarra. PHOTO: Manuel Castells
15/10/15 09:02 Fina Trèmols Garanger

Federico José Xamist is an iconographic painter of Chilean origin who has lived in Greece for 8 years, a period in which he was trained in this pictorial technique. In his discussion paper on the occasion of the XXXIV Symposium"Art and Theology", organized by the School of Theology of the University of Navarra, he affirmed that "the core topic of the crossing between Art and Theology is given in the Incarnation. God makes himself seen, heard and touched. The artist can make aesthetics an absolute experience of the language between God and man".

The betrayal of the icons -which he described as a paradigmatic case of the fruitful relationship between Art and Theology- took shape in the 5th century as a historical testimony of the Incarnation and traced its consolidation in history through the different artistic currents. He stressed its importance for the life of the universal Church and recalled how St. John Paul II considered it "a privileged written request for ecumenism, effective tool of Christianization, to make known the event of the Incarnation".

Characteristics of the icon

The icon, Xamist explained, is based on inverted perspective. The vanishing point of the image is projected from the pictorial surface into the viewer's space. Each object has its own vanishing point. He does not intend the presentation of a spiritual world as opposed to a naturalistic world.

Perspective is relational and rhythm acquires a sense of plasticity, the main President of Greek painting. The compositions of the icon are dynamic. "In the case of the face, the gaze is contrasted to where the head turns." In relation to the use of color, he stated that "it does not work only tonally, but it has to be alternated with warm and cold colors".

"Deisis" on the Schools Ecclesiastics.

On the occasion of the celebration of the XXXIV Symposium "Art and Theology" Federico José Xamist installed nine square icons, measuring 50x50 cm, on the entrance hall of the Ecclesiastical Schools building. In his discussion paper he explained that they were a "Deisis", a brief iconographic program that means "prayer": the one that can be raised to Christ while contemplating them.

In the center line and from left to right is the Virgin, Christ in majesty and St. John the Baptist. Above and above Christ is the archangel Gabriel, God's messenger, who brings the Virgin the news of the Incarnation. In the lower part of Christ and in the same line is the icon of the archangel Michael, as an expression of the fight against evil. In the quarters of the Greek cross that form the previous images, it places the four evangelists: St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. Luke and St. John, as spreaders of the good news through the four cardinal points.
The "Deisis" constitutes a summary of the iconography of the whole Church, with three levels of development: the Incarnation, the angelic orders and the life of the Church. "By arranging these nine images in a quadrangular manner, I wanted to reproduce the elementary layout of the Orthodox Churches, which consists of a symmetrical cross inscribed within a square, summary of the iconography of the whole Church. I conceive this liturgical installation as a prayer in passing," said the artist.
At the end of the Symposium, Xamist gave the "Deisis" as a gift to the Schools Ecclesiastical of the University of Navarra.