Definition of iconography in English:



  • 1The visual images and symbols used in a work of art or the study or interpretation of these.

    • ‘My study of the iconography has revealed 37 images from the twelfth century, 65 from the thirteenth century, then a mighty leap to 201 from the fourteenth century.’
    • ‘It is not only the iconography of Blake's work that conveys a dream of liberation.’
    • ‘The effectiveness of the statue was thus dependent in part on the visual suitability of its iconography and the quality of its form.’
    • ‘It has been demonstrated that the iconography of the Del Sarto altarpiece reflects Franciscan doctrine and artistic conventions.’
    • ‘The poses of seated figure and rooster and the relation between them distinctly recall the iconography of Peter's denial in early Christian and Carolingian images.’
    1. 1.1The visual images, symbols, or modes of representation collectively associated with a person, cult, or movement.
      ‘the iconography of pop culture’
      • ‘Sentimental photographs of high quality continue the maudlin iconography of Indians as last representatives of a fine and more noble pristine past, oppressed by crude invaders.’
      • ‘In Texas, the first thing to hit me was the iconography - of the cowboy, the Southwest, and the landscape, along with rich Tex-Mex culture represented by the Mariachi bands.’
      • ‘There's black and white pictures of presidential iconography: the oval office, motorcades, and the Presidential helicopter Marine One.’
      • ‘While this collection of styles is consonant with Ferry's interest in ironic pop art, it also reflects a significant departure, as noted, from the standard visual iconography of rock.’
      • ‘This is clearest in his valorization of the visual iconography of the French Revolution.’
  • 2A collection of illustrations or portraits.

    • ‘The great festivals celebrating the saving events in the life of Christ and the life of his Mother are represented both in mural iconography in the upper parts of the church and on the icon screen.’
    • ‘With her designs for The Indians' Book of 1907, DeCora moved past a generic interest in Native symbols to create a pan-Indian iconography.’


Early 17th century (denoting a drawing or plan): from Greek eikonographia sketch, description from eikōn likeness + -graphia writing.