Holy Name, Iconography of
HOLY NAME, ICONOGRAPHY OF
In early Greek manuscripts of the New Testament the name of Jesus was written in the abbreviated form IC (IHCOϒC). The abbreviation was considered not only a practical device but also a way of conveying the sacred character. In the Latin manuscripts of the 4th century, the Greek letters were retained for the name of Jesus: IHS. St. Bernardino of Siena (1380–1444) was responsible for
the devotion to the Holy Name, under the trigram IHS, made popular through his preaching and approved in 1432 by Eugene IV. In 1424 it was painted on the façade of S. Croce, Florence. The trigram on a flaming disc is represented in art as an attribute of St. Bernardino. Joan of Arc had it embroidered on her standard; later it was adopted by the Jesuit order as an abbreviation for Iesus Hominum Salvator. In the 17th century, the ceiling fresco "The Triumph of the Name of Jesus," showing the Holy Name adored by saints and angels, was painted in the Gesù Church, Rome, by G. B. Gaulli (Bacciccio).
The Chi-Rho monogram is formed of the first two letters in the Greek name of Christ (XPICTOC). There are many variations of this design, which is often represented with the addition of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha (Α) and omega (Ω). The monogram was of exceptional importance in early Christian art.
Bibliography: c. h. turner, "The nomina sacra in Early Latin Christian MSS," in Miscellanea Francesco Ehrle, 5 v. (Studi et Testi 37–41; 1924) 4:62–74. É. mÂle, L'Art religieux de la fin du XVIe siècle, du XVIIe siècle et du XVIIIe siècle (2d ed. Paris 1951). d. forstner, Die Welt der Symbole (Innsbruck 1961) 48–58. p. r. biasiotto, History of the Development of Devotion to the Holy Name (St. Bonaventure, N.Y. 1943).
[j. u. morris]