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Techniques of Traditional Icon Painting



  • Anyone who has been in an Eastern Orthodox church, or seen Byzantine icons in museums and art galleries cannot fail to be amazed by the sheer colour, exuberance and brilliance of the icons. It is a very traditional method of painting, hundreds of years old which is still in use today. But how do you achieve that glowing result? This book is the perfect answer. It explains the techniques used by icon artists and shows how to achieve good results. What is equally useful is the historical background that is provided, together with a study of the symbolism used in icons. There are some superb examples of finished icon paintings by modern artists making it a very inspirational book. Useful too are the inscriptions provided in several languages including Greek and Slavonic. The book demonstrates that icon painting remains a vibrant, living artistic style offering techniques which modern artists can usefully utilize.-Monstersandcritics.com This book differs from all the other art books I have reviewed in two respects. Firstly, this is not secular but sacred art and secondly, the materials are in the main totally different. Forget your oils or watercolors, these are real art materials that have been used for this type of work for centuries. This is not a book for the total beginning painter either, as some artistic talent and knowledge is taken as given. Working through the steps it is not too hard to produce something that looks like the finished image. Maybe I would also add a third difference, that this is not art as free expression of the painter's own personality but the depiction of Christian imagery. The book opens with some icons from the classic era and the story of how they came to be. This includes a brief summary of the symbolism of icons, and then it is on to the practical part of the book. Learn how to make the actual wood and fabric base for the painting (see, I told you this was a different sort of art book) and what you need to obtain for the whole process. Be warned that some of the items are highly toxic, and much care is needed in using them. Find out what part an egg plays in drawing with a paintbrush, and work through a good example of an icon--gilding and all--in usual Search Press style through staged photographs. There are other icons to paint too, with a simplified system of how they are painted in stages that reminded me of the How To Draw series, and finally a gallery of work to admire and be inspired by. This is a truly unique and lovely book that ought to result in a flowering of many icons.
  • Gilles Weissmann
    127 pages
    Publishers Group West

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