noun, plural i·co·nog·ra·phies.

symbolic representation, especially the conventional meanings attached to an image or images.
subject matter in the visual arts, especially with reference to the conventions regarding the treatment of a subject in artistic representation.
the study or analysis of subject matter and its meaning in the visual arts; iconology.
a representation or a group of representations of a person, place, or thing, as a portrait or a collection of portraits.

Origin of iconography

1620–30; < Medieval Latin īconographia < Greek eikonographía. See icono-, -graphy
Related formsi·con·o·graph [ahy-kon-uh-graf, -grahf] /aɪˈkɒn əˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf/, nouni·co·nog·ra·pher, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for iconography

drawing, emblem, picture, icon, image, folklore, ikon, logo, badge, motif, representation, idol

Examples from the Web for iconography

Contemporary Examples of iconography

Historical Examples of iconography

  • With these distinguished names the iconography of the Goncourts concludes.

    Rene Mauperin

    Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt

  • This appears to explain in general terms the sources of iconography.

    The Grotesque in Church Art

    T. Tindall Wildridge

  • I shall not attempt to reconstruct the iconography of the Maid.

  • It occurs frequently in Greek, but only seldom in Latin or Western iconography.

  • A few more years and even these old cities will be transformed and seen no more except in the pages of this iconography.


    Honore de Balzac

British Dictionary definitions for iconography


noun plural -phies

  1. the symbols used in a work of art or art movement
  2. the conventional significance attached to such symbols
a collection of pictures of a particular subject, such as Christ
the representation of the subjects of icons or portraits, esp on coins
Derived Formsiconographer, nouniconographic (aɪˌkɒnəˈɡræfɪk) or iconographical, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for iconography

1620s, from Medieval Latin iconographia, from Greek eikonographia "sketch, description," from eikon (see icon) + -graphia (see -graphy). Related: Iconographic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper