Centre for Christian Iconography

Centre for Christian Iconography

St Augustine’s Centre for Christian Iconography – the only one of its kind on the African continent – was founded in 2016.  The Centre aims at fostering knowledge and appreciation of the Christian iconography of a variety of traditions.  Apart from a series of short Courses dealing with aspects of Iconography, the Centre offers a long term (five years), part-time, Professional Training Course in Iconography.  Those interested in the Professional Training Course must take all eleven modules (‘Open’ and ‘Closed’) sequentially, while the ‘Open’ modules require no previous knowledge or experience.  In most cases, course materials will be provided.


Father Deacon Justin VENN started painting as a child, completing school in Johannesburg with a distinction in fine art.  He later dedicated himself fully to the art of Byzantine iconography, travelling to France to study for a time under the tutelage of the Atelier St Jean Damascene, before moving to the Orthodox Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God at La Faurie, France.  Here, with several of the monastic brothers, Fr Justin furthered his studies in the traditional technique, theory and spirituality of Christian iconography.

Upon his return to South Africa, Fr Justin – a deacon in the Orthodox Church – began painting full-time, mostly under commission from the Greek Orthodox community, as well as teaching regular classes.  His work can now be found in several churches and homes in South Africa, France, Switzerland, Holland and Italy.

TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT JUSTIN VENN: 082 775 9751 OR quatermane@gmail.com 

Download a PDF Brochure: Centre for Christian Iconography


Course Modules


  Module 1 (Open): Basic Iconology

  R 525.00

  3 x 3 hour lessons (including questions and answers and discussion)

  Option 1: 26 January, 2 February, 9 February (17h00 – 20h00)
  Option 2: 27 July, 3 August, 10 August (17h00 – 20h00)

 Students are introduced to the basic history of Christian imagery –from the 1st century to the      contemporary – and to basic Iconology (iconographic theology), focusing in particular on the    doctrinal    treatises of the 7th Ecumenical Council and the works of select contemporary writers

  Module 2 (Open): Sketching

  R 9 475.00

 40 x 3 hour lessons

 Every Monday evening (17h00 – 20h00), commencing 13 February 2017

 The module deals with the ABCs of iconographic form and theology. Students are taught how           to  draw in pencil, and, thereafter, how to ‘sketch’ with a paintbrush and  monochromatic pigments.



  Module 3 (Closed): Colour Painting

  40 x 3 hour lessons, plus two full day lessons (on a Saturday)

  Students are introduced to colour pigments and painting on gessoed wooden panels.

  Module 4 (Open): Architectural Theory

  3 x 3 hour lessons

  The module deals with the significance of sacred space – how icons interact with architecture.



  Module 5 (Closed): Colour Painting continued

  40 x 3 hour lessons

  Students will further develop their skills in colour painting, learning a new technique, and    enhancing what they have learnt in the previous years.

  Module 6 (Closed): Architectural Practice

  2 x 3 hour lessons, plus three full day lessons (on a Saturday)

  Students start to conceive of designing their own church from scratch, and laying out its mural   schema.



  Module 7 (Closed): Colour Painting continued and Varnishing

  35 x 3 hour lessons

 Students will continue their training in painting.  In addition, students will learn how to varnish    an icon  for durability and display.

  Module 8 (Open) Gilding

  5 x 3 hour lessons

 Students will learn several different gilding techniques, which techniques, when used on    icons, will be for background, halos and garments.



  Module 9 (Closed): Secco

  20 x 3 hour lessons

  Students will learn several ‘secco’ mural techniques, both traditional and contemporary.

  Module 10 (Closed): Fresco

  three full day lessons (on a Saturday)

  Students will learn traditional wet lime plaster painting on portable panels.

  Module 11 (Open): Mosaic

  20 x 3 hour lessons

  Students will learn several different techniques of traditional mosaic work.