1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Icon

ICON (through the Latinized form, from Gr. εἰκών, portrait, image), generally any image or portrait-figure, but specially the term applied to the representations in the Eastern Church of sacred personages, whether in painting or sculpture, and particularly to the small metal plaques in archaic Byzantine style, venerated by the adherents of the Greek Church. See Iconoclasts; Image-Worship; Byzantine Art. The term “iconography,” once confined to the study of engravings (q.v.), is now applied to the history of portrait images in Christian art, though it is also used with a qualifying adjective of Greek, Roman and other art.