Investing in fine art must be one of the most wholesome methods of making money work for you on a long-term basis. If you are enthusiastic about the art industry, and nothing can stop you when it comes to collecting masterpieces, there is something you should consider trying in your life right now, something that might upgrade your mindset and let you open new horizons.
Not to leave you hanging, this thing is religious art, mostly with regard to religious icons. You can hardly find anything more exotic and idiosyncratic than gathering ancient sacred icons and paintings that once were and now remain the foundation of the religious beliefs and principles of millions of people.
However, if you decide to start investing in religious icons, you should not be in a hurry with your decisions. Whether you are an emerging art collector or a seasoned expert, this area of the art world requires a slightly different approachas compared to standard collecting.
Holy icons have lots of specific criteria to consider before you start building acollection. Below, you will find six things that you should remember every time you want to buy sacred images.
6 Things You Should Remember When Buying Religious Icons
The style of an icon is one of the most pivotal factors influencing the final price of an artwork. Sometimes, it is not that easy to pin down an iconographer who stands behind the icon, so icon experts have to do painstaking research before they can set the value of the work. There was a fair number of icon painting schools back in the day, which means that it is possible to gather a lot of information by just analyzing the style of the icon.
2.Rarity & authenticity
Taking into account the fact that antique Russian icons are sold today for mouth-watering amounts of money at the auctions, it is no wonder that some people are eager to get rich from this. Like any other thing in life, icons are estimated by their rarity and — in terms of art — authenticity. If you want to build your collection of religious icons, it is highly recommended that you find reputable sellers and advisors first and only then start collecting.
Icons are believed to be the medium between God and humans. At least, some religious denominations interpret them this way. Because of the existence of disagreement in this matter, it is still open to debate whether religious images should be sanctified or not, but some would say that unsanctified icon paintings are not original and thus are just ordinary paintings, nothing more. While this is not a game-changing criterion, you should keep this fact in mind if you want to become a collector.
4.Age & history behind
No doubt, the older the icon, the higher its cost is. Again, icon painting is an ancient craft, so you are likely to find icons from the 16th-19th century and even earlier. Some of them have a rich historical background that always makes every work of art more expensive. However, keep in mind that the majority ofancient icons are already preserved in many important private and public collections worldwide. Still, if you are lucky to find one, be sure to buy it!
5.Quality & condition
The quality of an icon has always been a tricky factor due to the same reason that some crooks simply can use it for their own advantage. Icons of museum quality are valued the most, while damaged and vandalized ones will require additional restoration. Be very cautious when buying an icon or better hire a recognized icon expert who can help you avoid blatant fraud.
One more thing to know is that most religious icons are not signed. Unlike paintings, icons do not usually contain signatures of the creators. Many painters of antique Orthodox icons believed that their talent and aptitude for painting came from God. Consequently, the icon is inherently the work of God and only then the work of a man. Therefore, do not let someone fool you when they try to convince you that there is a signature of a world-known icon painter on the image.
Collecting religious icons is definitely not the thing that you would do if you had one year to live. Yet, if you decide to embark on such a captivating activity, make sure you know six essential things that you will need for a successful purchase.