Volume 60, Issue 2, December 2020

Paolo Liverani
Pages 523-542

La Σκιά (Hbr. 10,1) e la verità dei colori

In the Epistle to the Hebrews (10,1; cf. Hbr. 8,5; Col. 2,16-17) the terms σκιά and εἰκών are opposed, and most commentators have focused on the latter term, interpreting it as a Platonic allusion. If we consider in more detail the meanings of σκιά and σκιαγραφία, another interpretation appears more likely. Σκιαγραφία means “shading”, “silhouette” or “outline”, and finally “sketch” or – even better – “preliminary drawing”, “underdrawing”or “sinopia”. The last meaning is well attested in the sources at least since the late second or early third century AD and a number of passages in the Fathers alluding to the Epistle support the same conclusion. The term is common in the technical terminology of painters on wooden tablets and was a widely employed topos with different nuances according to different authors.