The STI Icons: the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem

Here Dr. Göran Larsson writes and explains about the icons in the Chapel of St. Bridget at the Swedish Theological Institute.

These icons, made by the Swedish artist Bengt Olof Kälde (1936-2014), were installed and consecrated in 1986. They consist of three icons, depicting the moment recorded in Luke 2:22-38, when Mary has handed over her firstborn son to Simeon in the temple, while Joseph with his pigeons is watching them to the left and Anna is contemplating to the right. 

The icons are painted according to the rules of the classical Byzantine tradition. At the same time they are innovative in the way they visualize the unique connection between Judaism and Christianity.

Since the motif is divided into three parts, the composition can be considered a triptych. However, it may also be viewed as a diptych, that is, a painting consisting of two parts. We notice that the background is divided into two different colors and patterns, placing Joseph and Mary on one side, Simeon and Anna on the other, while the focal figure in the middle – the child Jesus – unites both sides.