Image, effigy, statue, icon, portrait, photograph, mask all mean a lifelike representation especially of a living being.
Image (see also SENSATION 1 ) in its earliest English sense denotes a sculptured, cast, or modeled representation (as of a god or a sacred or saintly person) especially when intended for the veneration of the people. The term is also applicable to a representation of a person made in wax, clay, or other plastic substance (as for use in a museum or exhibit or by a sorcerer who wishes to injure or destroy the person through attack on his image).
Effigy is commonly limited to images sculptured, especially on sepulchral monuments (as in medieval cathedrals), or engraved, especially on coins, except in the idiomatic phrase “to burn (or hang) in effigy.” In the latter use effigy often implies a crude simulacrum in clothes similar to those worn by the original which serves merely as an object on which is inflicted the sort of punishment which he is supposed to deserve.
Statue applies not only to an image for use in a church but to a sculptured, cast, or modeled representation of the entire figure, especially as distinguished from a bust or head, of a living or dead person.
Icon specifically designates the type of representation of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint used in Orthodox churches and homes. Because of a literal interpretation of the Second Commandment forbidding the making of graven images an icon is never a statue but is a painting, a mosaic, or a bas-relief.
Portrait implies pictorial representation, especially of the figure or of the face of a person; it may be used of such a representation as is executed by drawing, photographing, engraving, or, in its now common specific sense, by painting.
Photograph applies only to a portrait that is made by means of a camera and sensitive plates or films.
Mask applies primarily to a molded copy of a face made in wax or plaster; thus, a death mask is a copy made very soon after a person has died, especially a cast or impression taken directly from the face of the dead person.