An excerpt from Chapter 2 of my Master’s thesis The Theological Presuppositions of the Orthodox Iconographer according to the Stoglav Council (Moscow 1551).
The second presupposition of the iconographer is to struggle to live a pious life. The Stoglav council expressed in detail the type of life which is expected of an iconographer. Since iconography is based in liturgical mystery (namely, God’s coming into Creation) it is only proper to address the relationship between the iconographer’s life and work. Furthermore, the sacredness of the icon deserves to be respected in both an artistically and morally honorable way. And so it was for this reason, “the Stoglav’s essential prescriptions aimed at raising the level of quality of iconography and the moral level of iconographers.” Thus we shall begin by addressing the council’s statements on living piously to better understand the influence a pious life has on the icons one paints.
The Stoglav council places great importance on the role of a spiritual father in the life of an iconographer. It states: “He shall go frequently to spiritual fathers and confess everything, and he shall live according to their discipline and instruction, in fasting and prayers, in temperance, with humility, without any sort of disgrace or impropriety, and only with the greatest care will he paint the images.”
The activity of going to spiritual fathers, confessing, living in obedience with a humble, temperate, and prayerful manner is the foundation for painting sacred personages with great care. These actions cultivate and maintain the appropriate spiritual disposition befitting an iconographer. Wherefore, not only through artistic talent but together with piety, the iconographer will properly convey the spiritual content in holy icons, as Photios Kontoglou points out: “you must know well the technical things of your art. But this is not enough. Most necessary besides this is to have a soul that is strong and rich in spiritual things, so that your hand might manifest that which you have within you.” From this we see that even the personal spiritual state of the iconographer can have an intimate influence on what is manifested in sacred images.
 See Evdokimov, Theology of Beauty, 144.
 Ouspensky, Theology of the Icon, vol II, 300.
 Stoglav, Chapter 43.
 Carvarnos, Introduction Fine Arts, 32.