icon painting
icon painting

The painting of icons was a sacred art, carried out by anonymous artists who followed a prescribed form. Icons were painted on wood, using layers of paint to create depth in colors. Figures were represented in their two-dimensional heavenly form, not their natural form. The head was never painted in profile; the eyes were the most prominent feature of the face, the potentially sensuous lips usually thin and small. Perspective was inverted in order to thrust the central point out rather than draw the viewer to a disappearing point within the picture; light came only from within the holy person depicted and therefore cast no shadows. The Russians added to the Byzantine style of icon painting a richness of color and a special quality of tenderness particularly evident in the many icons of the Virgin.


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