BIOGRAPHY OF AIDAN HART
Aidan was born in England in 1957 and grew up in New Zealand. There he worked as a full-time sculptor for a number of years after completing a degree in English literature and a Diploma in Secondary Education teaching. In 1983 he became a member of the Orthodox Church, returned to live in England, and began to work as a professional iconographer. While continuing to work as an iconographer, from 1988 to 2000 he tested his vocation as a monk, including spending a total of two years on Mount Athos and six as a hermit in Shropshire, UK. This intense life of prayer had a profound effect on his work. He is now married with two children, his best icons yet.
To meet the liturgical needs of the churches commissioning him, over the past thirty years Aidan has gained extensive experience in a wide range of media: egg tempera panel painting; fresco; mosaic; stone and wood carving; illuminated manuscript painting; church furniture design.
Training others in liturgical arts has also been part of his work. In 2009 he founded and still teaches the part-time Icon Certificate programme for The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts. In 2012 Aidan was joined in his studio by the highly gifted artist, Martin Earle (www.martinearle.com). Since then, Martin has worked with Aidan on subsequent major projects, as well as on his own commissions. In 2018 the equally gifted Dr James Blackstone (www.dunstanicons.com) joined Aidan’s studio as an apprentice.
To meet growing demand (he has over 1200 commissioned works in private and church collections in over 25 countries of the world) and to help execute his designs for church furnishings, Aidan also works with a team of highly skilled craftspeople, including cabinetmakers, blacksmiths, and foundries.
In demand as a writer, lecturer and teacher, he has had numerous articles published on the subjects of iconography, ecology and Orthodox spirituality. In 2015 he was elected a Fellow of the Temenos Academy.
Aidan has published three books: Festal Icons: History and Meaning (2022); Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting (2011, 2015, also in Polish), the most extensive work on the subject, and Beauty Spirit Matter (2014), a collection of essays. All are published by Gracewing, Leominster.
- Icons of Christ and the Virgin for the Anglican monastery of The Servants of the Will of God, Crawley Down, UK.
- Icon of St Mary Magdalen, for Magdalen College, Oxford.
- Began large mosaic (20 x 2.6 metres/65’ x 8.5’) for a private house in Kuwait.
- Icon of St Anne, Mother of the Virgin, for Bene’t's Church, Cambridge.
- Icon of Chinese martyrs, Houston, Texas.
- Brass choros chandelier (2.5 metres/8.2' wide ) for St Gregory Palamas Monastrery, Ohio.
- Archangel Michael, commissioned by The Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton, Massachusetts.
- Frescoes of 17 roundels of saints for the Orthodox Church of the Holy Fathers, Shrewsbury, UK.
- All Hallows by the Tower, the oldest church in London. Icon of St Ethelburga.
- Beda College, Rome. Icons of St Peter and St Paul.
- St George’s Orthodox Church, Houston Texas. Mosaic of Christ with the Children (1.3 x 0.9 metres).
- St Mary Magdalene Church, Oxford. Hospitality of Abraham icon.
- St Clements, Cambridge, for the Orthodox parish of St Ephraim. Retractable ironwork icon screen, with its five icons (2019, 2020).
- Selby Abbey. Icon of St Germanos of Auxerre.
- Christian Heritage Centre, Stonyhurst College. Stone altar.
- St. Helen’s Orthodox parish, Colchester, U.K. Consultant and designer for interior refurbishment.
- His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, for St Mary’s, Anmer, Norfolk. Painted decoration for rood screen.
- Lancaster University chaplaincy (wall painting of the Transfiguration, 10.5 x 4.8 m.)
- Canterbury Cathedral (icon of St Giles for the St Gabriel chapel)
- Birkdale intermediate School, Auckland and The Hundertwasser Foundation, Vienna (bronze portrait bust of Hundertwasser)
- Houston, Texas, St George's Orthodox Church (two mosaics 5x4 m.)
- Private chapel, London (three mosaics)
- Silver episcopal staff for His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Russia
- Cambridge University, Fisher House chapel (stone altar)
- Consultant for refurbishment of Russian Orthodox Cathedral, London
- Designed made had made chandelier and kiots for above.
- Lincoln Cathedral (stone sculpture, 2 metres high)
- Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College chapel (icon of the Annunciation)
- London, St Michael's and All Angels, Bedford Park (icons, wrought iron screen)
- Hexham Abbey (icons)
- Madrid, St Mary Magdalene Russian Orthodox Church (stone and wood carving, fourteen gold on copper festal panels for west doors)
- Vatican, Pope Francis, gift from Archbishop of Canterbury (icon)
- Cardiff, Roath, St Martin's Church (mosaic)
- Leeds, Our Lady of Lourdes (fresco 9.5 x 5.5 metres)
- Leeds, private chapel (icons and carved screen)
- Amsterdam, St Nicholas Orthodox Church (icons, stone iconscreen)
- Minneapolis, USA, St Johns Abbey (icons)
- Keswick, (fresco private chapel)
- Shrewsbury School (fresco in chapel)
- Carlisle Cathedral (icon)
- Cardiff, Roath, St Martin's (icons)
- Newcastle-on-Tyre Cathedral (two icons)
- HRH The Prince of Wales, Highgove, Gloucester (fresco chapel, icons)
- Evia, Greece (fresco private chapel)
- Cumbria, UK (fresco private home)
- Minnesota, USA, (illuminations for The St John's Bible)
- Hereford Cathedral (icon)
- Lichfield Cathedral (icon)
- Shrewsbury, Church of the Holy Fathers (iconscreen, fresco)
- Shropshire, Monastery of St Anthony and Cuthbert (fresco chapel, icons)
- Mount Athos, Iviron, Greece, (numerous works: carving, icons, design, silverwork)
- Numerous icon and carving commissions in UK and abroad
- Auckland, New Zealand (numerous church and private commissions for sculptures in bronze
Over 900 other commissioned works are found in churches and private collections in the UK and abroad, including in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Spain, Turkey, USA, and The Vatican.
PUBLISHED WRITING BY AIDAN HART
Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting, Gracewing Publications, 2011, 2015 (2015 Polish edition, publ. Jednosc)
Beauty, Spirit, Matter: Icons in the Modern World, Gracewing Publications, 2014
Festal Icons: History and Meaning, Gracewing Publications, 2022
- “A Beauty with Fire” in Modern Painters; art criticism; article; Fine Art Journals Ltd, London; 2000 Spring. ISBN 09536698.
- “The Tradition of Sacred Iconography” in Harvest; Jungian studies; chapter; C.G. Jung Analytical Psychology Club, London; 1992, Vol. 38. ISSN 0266 4771.
- “Poreia sto Kallos” in Greek in “2000 Years After”; religious; chapter; Akritas, Athens, 2000. ISBN 960 328 129 8.
- “Constantin Brancusi: A Modernist Against Modernism” in “Second Spring”; religious/cultural commentary; G.K. Chesterton Institute, Oxford; 2006 Spring.
- “Sacred Icons: Paradise Regained”; exhibition catalogue; sole author; Oriel 31, Wales; 1991. ISBN 1 870797 07 8.
- “Sacred Icons”; exhibition catalogue; sole author; Greek Church of Shrewsbury for Orthodox Christian Millennium Festival, UK; 2000. ISBN 0 947805 35 4.
- “Icons of Grace: The Art of Paul Martin” in “Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion”; art criticism; article; The Hillsdale Review Inc., USA; 1996 number 15. ISSN 1087 3503.
- “The Icon and Contemporary Art” in “Epiphany”; religion and culture; article; Christ the Saviour Brotherhood, NY; 1991 Spring. ISSN 0273 6969.
- “Beauty and the Gospel” in “Epiphany”; religion and culture; article; Christ the Saviour Brotherhood, NY; 1992 Fall, 1993 Winter and Spring. ISSN 0273 6969.
- “Life and Architecture on Mount Athos” in “Temenos Academy Review”; scholarly; article; The Temenos Academy, Kent, UK; 2003. ISSN 1461 779X;
- Vatican newspaper "l'Osservatore Romano", appearing December 2011, two page article "Icons and the Spiritual Role of Matter"
- Numerous articles in the Orthodox Arts Journal.
TEACHING AND LECTURING
- Visiting tutor to The Prince's School of Traditional Arts, London. From 2009 teaching The Certificate in Icon Painting.
- Lecturing at various institutions, including: The British Library; Hillside College, USA; IOCS, Cambridge; European Council of Churches, Minsk; St Andrews University, Scotland.
MEDIA AND NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
A selection (dates are approximate):
- Radio New Zealand, 16 April: Half hour live interview with Kim Hill.
- ‘My Shrewsbury’ Sept/Oct (pages 69-73), five-page illustrated feature.
- Radio Rhema interview, New Zealand
- Interview with Jonathan Pageau (Oct 27),'The Dance between Sacred and Secular'
BBC Radio 1, ‘Walks of Life’, with JB Gill. May 5.
- BBC Radio 4 and World Service.. Series of five fifteen-minute radio programmes: ‘In the Studio: Creating an Icon’, 6-10 August.
- BBC Two TV, “The Face of Britain" with Simon Schama
- Appearance on BBC4's TV programme "A History of Art in Three Colours" - programme "Gold", demonstrating and speaking about the symbolism of gilding.
- Interview on Radio Shropshire
- Two page illustrated article on iconography in the Italian and English editions of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
- Channel Four TV "Rome Wasn't built in a Day" as fresco consultant and teacher on the construction of a Roman Villa in Wroxeter, U.K.
- SBS Australia TV series “Cracking the Colour Code”, an award winning three part series.
- Dutch TV programme on Christian artists.
- “The Church Times”, a feature.
- BBC Radio 4, a 30 minute feature on ecology and iconography.
- Midlands TV BBC, 5 minute programme on icons.
- “The Daily Telegraph”, a 2 page feature.
- “Country Living” magazine, a feature.
- BBC TV, a 5 minute slot on a programme about imagery of the Virgin Mary.
- TVNZ, a 10 minute interview.