Bess Chakravarty: A Modern-day Iconogragher

I have fallen in love with icons; looking at them is not like appreciating a great painting, there is a spirit to Spirit connection that occurs. Painted in prayer, saturated with the Holy Spirit, a wordless flow of the love, light and most especially and an energizing joy fills my soul as God himself blesses me.  I simply open my heart, soul and spirit to the icon. It is powerful and direct; the perfect way to connect with God when I am exhausted. God is in charge as I let go of mental logic and control and allow the Spirit of the Lord Himself to minister to me through the image.

I have decided that the Artist, Bess Chakravarty, should speak for herself. 

Iconography is the culmination of a lifelong search to unify my faith life and artistic life. I have practiced many art forms – as a painter of landscapes and portraits, as a sculptor in clay, marble and bronze, as a maker of stained glass and as an architectural designer – before coming to iconography. When I first saw the Vladimir icon of the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, in the Chapel of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, I realized that the visual and theological content of that icon was what I had been trying to create all my life. The beauty of Orthodox worship bathed my soul and drew me to become a convert. Stained glass and social service architecture all had good fruits for a heart desiring to serve God, but they were missing the reverence, awe, tradition and prayer that go along with Orthodoxy and the practice of iconography.

ICONS – An Ancient Tradition of Christianity

Mother of GodJesus ChristFeasts of the ChurchSaintsOlga of Alaska

Bess’s icons speak to a modern sensibility. Her figures are in the classical tradition but you will not find morbid, pasty-faced saints with their eyeballs rolled back, gazing int the heavens. Her images are strong, peaceful, filled with passion and the love of God.

Icons are sacred images meant for liturgical and personal prayer. Veneration means giving profound respect and honor to the person or moment depicted. Orthodox believers only worship Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Icons preach in color and pictures what the Bible preaches in sound and words. Icons guide those who venerate them into a closer relationship with God. They provide a focus of attention and a space for communion in prayer.

The icons I paint are done on specially prepared wooden boards. I mix dry pigments with egg yolk to make the colors I use. The raw pigments come from the minerals in rocks and different colors of clay in the earth. This egg tempera technique has been continued unchanged for at least 16 centuries.

Contact and FAQ

To inquire about having an Icon made, please complete the form below or
email Bess at:

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