Iconology is the study of artistic images that represent different religious, mythological or cultural aspects.
The term iconology comes from icon (which means image) and from logy which means science or knowledge. This discipline is part of the history of art and is related to aesthetics , with a reflection on sensitivity and beauty within the world of creation.
When getting to know and understand a work of art, it is necessary to describe the images and this task is performed through iconography
However, a simple description of the elements of a work is not enough to fully deepen its meaning. For this reason, in the 20th century, iconology emerged with the purpose of deepening the various meanings of images in art.
The main objective of iconology is to relate a work and its contents to an artistic tradition. In this sense, this discipline brings an interpretation of a certain work. The idea is to reveal the hidden meaning behind an image and not simply its apparent appearance.
There is a psychoanalytic component in iconology, since the objective is to explain what does not appear at first sight and that is part of the individual and collective unconscious. In this way, iconology also enters as a research method .
This method of understanding art is based on the idea that an image created by an artist is related to a culture and a specific period, thus, this link can be conscious or unconscious, but in any case it is evident. Iconology also explains the parallels between different symbols throughout art history. At the same time, it highlights certain shapes, such as geometric shapes in architecture that have a meaning beyond the image or a certain structure , as they are part of cosmology , religion and philosophy.
This artistic vision tries to establish symbolic connections between very different styles and periods, something new in art history
For example, in a twentieth-century architectural style that, in turn, has implicit elements of antiquity, it is convenient to know what the connections between the two are and especially what meaning they have.
The symbols of art therefore have several levels of understanding. A technical and descriptive one (which can have various degrees) and a more profound one (which presents iconology as a discipline and method of analysis).