Not long before we closed our local icon studio in Lafayette because of the start of the covid
pandemic, one of our students requested that we paint an icon of St. Thomas Aquinas. Her son
was getting his masters’ degree in history and philosophy, and he had a particular love for the
writings of St. Thomas, the 13 th century Dominican friar and priest who is recognized as one of
the most influential theologians of the Roman Catholic Church and the greatest thinker of the
medieval period. Given the title of Doctor of the Church, he is often referred to as the Doctor
Angelicus, the one who spoke with the tongue of the angels.
In designing our icon of St. Thomas, we studied the existing imagery and iconography of the
saint. We decided on a simple frontal image that incorporated a scroll and a quill, indicating his
work as a scholar. He is dressed in the black and white of the Dominican habit. The old
iconography of St. Thomas often included a sunburst, indicating that he was a shining light to
the darkness of the middle ages. We also noticed that the old images showed St. Thomas with
a receding hairline. We incorporated both of these features in our icon. Finally, St. Thomas
was said to have been somewhat fat, so we drew him as a healthy, chubby saint rather than as
We had just started painting St. Thomas in the studio when covid hit. We finished St. Thomas
online as I and my local students together discovered the wonderful world of web cams and
Zoom and the intricacies of teaching and painting icons remotely. The current online classes
developed from that starting point.
This packet of St. Thomas includes all of the instructional material from the original class: the
instructional text (14 pages), step photographs (14 pages), color placement guides (4 pages), a
color formula sheet, 2 pages of line drawings, a page of various short sayings attributed to St.
Thomas, and a reflection page. It also includes a list of pigments and supplies.
As with all our packets, this packet is designed for those who have previously studied with the
Prosopon School of Iconology or its affiliated teachers. You must be familiar with the painting
techniques and terminology of the school to fully understand the instructions in the packet. If
you are new to icon painting, please visit our Classes page and consider enrolling in our Paint
Mixing and Pigments class, followed by one of our 9-week beginning series classes.