Composition of Icon-Image


The infrastructure of the image

The workshop of iconography of the Orthodox Fraternity "Christian Hope", gives great importance to the infrastructure of an icon, a fact that ensures its durability in time. Thus, from the very first stage of choosing the appropriate piece of wood and the preparation of the surface, to that of the process of gilding, we are in a direct cooperation with experienced conservators. Below, we are to describe, in detail, the stages of the polisher gilding of portable icons of our workshop. 

Stages of Polisher gold plating portable icons

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After selecting the wooden carrier, we prepare the surface which is going to be gold plated. The process of preparation of this surface is anything but simple. Many layers are preceded so that the surface to reach the level at which it is to be gold plated and polished. 


Firstly, the surface to be gold plated, is dug to the required depth and dimensions and then covered with cloth (gauze) which is adhered by using an organic adhesive (kounelokolla). The implementation is done carefully so that the fabric is in the correct position and has the correct orientation. The adhesion of the fabric to the surface depends on the quantity and quality of the glue used. For this reason, each fabric needs at least five coats of glue whose quota of its mixture is continuously and deeply monitored. 

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Then, the longer glued fabric, is covered with fifteen coats of organic glue (kounelokolla), inert limestone materials and water. The layers made are applied exclusively with brush, as we wish to follow faithfully the traditional techniques. The textured surface will be smoothed with particular attention to be ready for the next step.

stadia6At this stage, the surface is to be coated with a mixture of clay material, glue and water or the so called ampoli. The ten to fifteen layers of ampoli, are again applied with brush. In no stage a modern mechanism of applying materials is used. This process of polishing the surface of ampoli, is repeated in order for it, not to have any spot that has not been perfectly smooth.  



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stadia9Once the stage of smoothing ampoli, is completed, the surface is now ready for the gilding. The gold leaves are applied with the aid of an organic adhesive, which is applied on the already prepared surface.

With the passage of a few time, the gold sheets are glued to the surface and therefore, the conditions are most suitable for the final stage of polishing. The gold is polished using special stones (ahatis) which allow it to be polished in the most suitable way.



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Materials - Compositions of image

Portable icons are made on wood (either natural or Russian plywood), with egg-tempera and mineral paints.      


To ensure the natural drying of egg-tempera, icons are secured in handcrafted display cases made of beechwood.

stadia-prothikiMotherofGod, 70 Х 50 см, 2010, Mineral paints, egg-tempera on wood


When a case like that, frames an icon with glazed gilding, the glass of the icon is baked in a special way, to achieve a reduction in its reflectivity.

The techniques that are followed by us, are also based on research and collaboration with professional chemists and conservators. Moreover, we use innovating methods utilizing natural materials such as papyrus, stone of Karystos, quartz etc. When the hagiographer paints on such materials, acrylic resin is used as a connecting substance, as it is highly resistant to severe climatic conditions and mineral paints.



Prophet Elias, 56x34 cm, 1998, Mineral paints on Stone from Karystos.

stadia-xalaziasSt. Nicholaos, 51,6 Х 37 см, 2012, Mineral paints with acrylic binder resin on quartz

Upon delivery of each piece of work, our workshop provides the client with a detailed reference to the stages of the infrastructure of the icon, in electronic format, to ensure its diachronic maintenance. 

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Our techniques, draw inspiration from nature and the old Byzantine icons. As a result we paint using warm and cool colors in earthy tones.

With regard to the sarcomas, we adopt particular styles, applying cross type fine brush strokes, seeking to achieve an expression of hesychasm by pairing style and ethos.  




Jesus Christ, 60x42 cm, 2010, Mineral paints with egg-tempera on wood.