This new page provides details of resources needed by icon painters and those interested in the meaning of icons. It includes makers of icon panels, art suppliers providing icon painting materials, book reviews, icon websites.
NEW BOOK: “FESTAL ICONS: HISTORY AND MEANING”
This long-awaited book on the icons of the fourteen major feasts of the Orthodox Church is the most comprehensive work on the subject in the English language. Richly illustrated, it first describes how each feast developed over time, then maps how their icons evolved from the early centuries, and finishes with a detailed examination of each festal icon’s most recognizable form. This story encompasses not only panel icons, but also frescos, mosaic, metalwork, embroidery and reliefs carved in stone, ivory and wood. 456 pages, 320 colour illustrations. For more information and to purchase go to Publications.
BEAUTY SPIRIT MATTER
'BEAUTY SPIRIT MATTER: Icons in the Modern World' by Aidan Hart
A long awaited collection of essays on contemporary issues as seen through the theology of the icon, covering subjects such as ecology, the role of the material world in the spiritual life, beauty, the revival of liturgical art, the nature of the human person, and abstract art. 240mm x 170mm 256pp + 32pp colour plates. UK ISBN 9780852447826, Australian ISBN 9781781829882. RRP £14.99. Gracewing Publishers.
Icons and the theology behind them are a crystallisation of what some of the greatest minds and hearts in history have concluded about matter as a mediator between God and man. In this new collection of essays Aidan Hart considers the insight icons give us into a range of such contemporary issues as the role of our bodies in the spiritual live, ecology, scientific knowledge and the nature of beauty. Ultimately, he argues that icons resonate with our innermost being as creatures made of spirit and matter, and awaken within us a nostalgia for paradise.
Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting
'TECHNIQUES OF ICON AND WALL PAINTING: Egg Tempera, Fresco, Secco" by Aidan Hart
The most comprehensive book to date on the techniques of icon and wall painting. 460 pages. Over 450 colour illustrations and over 160 drawings. 227mm x 278mm. Hard cover, £40. Gracewing publishers, 2011.
This is the most comprehensive book to date on the techniques of icon and wall painting. Illustrated by over 450 colour ilustrations and over 160 drawings, it is a source of pleasure and inspiration for the general reader as well as for the practising icon painter. More than just a technical manual, it sets artistic practice in the context of the Church's spirituality and liturgy, with chapters on the theology and history of the icon, and the reasons behind the placement of wall paintings within churches.
ICON PANEL MAKERS
- Dylan Hartley. Icon Boards Shop Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A qualified cabinet-maker, Dylan Hartley makes high quality icon panels using tulipwood, with oak for the braces which are dovetailed and tapered in the traditional way to prevent warping. The panels are hollowed to 3mm, or to whatever depth is requested. They can be bought gessoed or ungessoed. Dylan Hartley Ltd. stock a wide range of sizes and also make to order. Flat birch plywood panels are also available. For more information and to purchase see Dylan Hartley Ltd
- Dylan also runs icon board making and gessoing courses in his workshop in the beautiful Iron Bridge Gorge. See the 'Workshops' page for more information.
- Icone & Legno. www.iconelegno.it An Italian supplier of ready-made and bespoke panels, which come gessoed and sanded. Via Trevisit, 46, Cordenons, Italy. Phone: +39 (0)434 930418, Email: email@example.com
- Icon Boards. www.iconboards.com Supplies ready-made panels in a wide range of sizes, as well as bespoke panels. Stanislav Solovyev, 206 Jamaica Blvd, Endicot, NY-13760, U.S.A. Phone/Fax (607)754677.
- Religious Supply. www.religious-supply.com This company imports boards made in Pskov monastery in Russia. Address:18 Hunter Lane, Ithaca NY 14850, U.S.A. Phone: 607 539-7940, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ICON MATERIALS SUPPLIERS
- L. Cornelissen and Son Ltd., 105 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3RY. Phone 0207 6361045. www.cornelissen.com
- AP Fitzpatrick, 142 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London E1 5QJ. Phone 0207 7900884. www.apfitzpatrick.co.uk
- Stuart R. Stevenson, 68 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5QA. Phone 0207 2531693. www.stuartstevenson.co.uk
- Wright’s of Lymm, Warrington Lane, Lymm, Cheshire, WA13 OSA. Phone 01925 752226. www.stonehouses.co.uk For gold leaf and gilding tools.
- Rosemary and Co. Makers of fine artists’ brushes. PO Box 372, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 6WZ, U.K. Phone 01535 600090 www.rosemaryandco.com
- The Gilder’s Warehouse Ltd., 5 Woodside Commercial estate, Thornwood, Epping, Essex, CM16 6LJ. Phone 01992 570453.
- Natural Pigments. www.naturalpigments.com Call Toll Free within USA: 1-888-361-5900
- Pandora. www.pandora-store.com Stanislav Solovyev, 206 Jamaica Blvd. Endicott, NY-13760, US Phone/Fax (607)7546774 or (607)757-2577
OTHER PIGMENT PRODUCERS
- Attila Gazo of Master Pigments www.masterpigments.com, produces azurite, malachite, orpiment, realgar, volkonskoite, cinnabar and more recently, lapis lazuli both in a simple ground powder form, but also the superior extraction process.
FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME COURSES IN ICONOGRAPHY AND RELATED LITURGICAL ARTS
- Three year part-time Certificate in Icon Painting, run by The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, London. This is currently taught by Aidan Hart in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, U.K.. Lessons are three whole days a month, seven months each year. For further information click here. To be informed when applications open (early 2022), please email Aidan Hart at email@example.com.
- Liturgical Icons. EastXWest Online Icon Course: Sister Theovouli, an Orthodox nun from the U.K., runs an online course, designed not just for budding iconographers but also for ‘priests, church architects, catechists and art teachers, and to all those for whom art is part of their spiritual journey’. www.exw-onlineiconcourse.org
WEBSITES OF OTHER CENTRES OFFERING OR ADVERTISING SHORT COURSES
- Five-day courses run by Aidan Hart. Run in May and September. See the 'Workshop' page on this website,
- The British Association of Iconographers, www.bai.org.uk They run a journal and a website, which includes details of all current icon courses in the UK.
- The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts. The school sporadically runs five-day courses in a range of arts related to iconography, such as gilding, illumination and calligraphy. https://princes-foundation.org/school-of-traditional-arts/open-programme
- www.sacredmurals.com Based in Russia, but they also run courses in the USA.
- www.hexaemeron.org Often run courses taught by Xenia Pokrovsky.
- www.perichorese-icones.org Based in Canada.
- www.atelier-st-andre.net Founded by Fr. Egon Sendler, it is a Roman Catholic icon studio, which sometimes runs courses in France.
- www.atelierdamascene.fr Atelier Saint Jean Damascène, La Prade 26190, Saint Jean en Royans, France. Tel : 04 75 47 55 87
- MOSAIC ART SCHOOL - Ravenna, Italy This established school runs excellent five-day courses on mosaic technique in Ravenna, their techniques based on those used in the many famous Byzantine mosaics found in that city.
Advertisers of international courses:
London based iconographer Christabel Anderson produces these beautiful hand made prayer ropes. If you are interested in purchasing a prayer rope please contact Christabel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Examples of her other work, including illuminated miniature paintings and cloisonné, can be seen on her website, christabelanderson.com.
WEBSITES OF SOME CONTEMPORARY ICONOGRAPHERS
There are of course many iconographers with websites, so the following are just a selection of the sites that I particularly respect or have found useful:
- www.sacredmurals.com Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova
- www.gsinai.com Father Patrick (Doulan), USA
- www.orthodox-icon.com A Ukrainian wall painter and panel painter working in the USA. An expert in silica painting on walls.
- www.eliasicons.co.uk Ian Knowles, U.K./Middle East.
- www.byzarticon.gr Maria Sigalas-Spanopoulos and_Nikolas Spanopoulos
USEFUL ICON REFERENCE WEBSITES
- www.icon-art.info A Russian based site with a wealth of text and image material.
- ww.eikastikon.gr/xristianika/ For contemporary Greek and old Byzantine iconography.
- www.zeroland.co.nz An extensive art resource site, with many links in their iconography section.
ICON RELATED BOOKS
Theology and history of the icon:
- 'TECHNIQUES OF ICON AND WALL PAINTING: egg tempera, fresco, secco' by Aidan Hart. The most comprehensive book to date on the techniques of icon and wall painting. 460 pages. Over 450 colour illustrations and 160 drawings. 227mm x 278mm. Hard cover, £40.
- Baggley, John. Festival Icons for the Christian Year. London: Mowbray, 2000. Very good at linking the icons to the Orthodox liturgical texts of the relevant feasts.
- Cavarnos, Constantine. Byzantine Thought and Art. Boston, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1974. Also by the same author and publisher:
- Fine Arts and Tradition: A presentation of Kontoglou’s teaching . Boston, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 2004
- Byzantine Sacred Art. Boston, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1985
- Orthodox Iconography. Boston, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1977
- Meetings with Kontoglou. Boston, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies,1992.
- Evdokimov, Paul. The Art of the Icon: a theology of beauty. Oakwood, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1990. A very penetrating and broad analysis of icons, beauty and art.
- Florensky, Pavel. Iconostasis. Oakwood, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996. A philosophical and highly original inquiry by a great polymath and priest, looking not just at the icon but at art in general.
- Forest, Jim. Praying with Icons. Orbis Books, 1997. A good introduction, by a well known Orthodox writer and speaker.
- John of Damascus (Saint).Three Treatises on the Divine Images. Trans. by Andrew Louth. St. Vladimir's Seminary Press; 2003. Seminal texts by the main defender of icons against the iconoclasts (eighth century).
- Mathew, Gervase. Byzantine Aesthetics. London: John Murray,1965. An excellent guide to the philosophy behind Byzantine aesthetics.
- Ouspensky, Leonid. The Meaning of Icons. Oakwood: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1982. A classic work, this covers the main icon types, including the major feasts.
- Ouspensky, Leonid. Theology of the Icon (Two volumes). Oakwood, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1992. Primarily an historical account of icons.
- Sendler, Egon, The Icon: Image of the Invisible. California: Oakwood Publications, 1988. An excellent introduction to the theology, style, history, and technique on icon painting. Out of print but due to be reprinted.
- Tradigo, Alfredo. Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church (A Guide to Imagery). An excellent guide to the main icon types, both of saints and feasts. Well illustrated and succint.
- Theodore the Studite (Saint). On the Holy Icons. St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003. Like St John of Damascus; work, a seminal primary text in defense of icons, written in the early ninth century.
- Wood, Archimandrite Zacchaeus (ed.). A History of Icon Painting. Moscow, Grand-Holding Publishers and U.K: Orthodox Christian Books Ltd., 2005 (Russian edition in 2002). An excellent work that covers the history, theology and some technique of icon painting.
Technical works related to egg tempera painting:
- 'TECHNIQUES OF ICON AND WALL PAINTING: egg tempera, fresco, secco' by Aidan Hart.. The most comprehensive book to date on the techniques of icon and wall painting. 460 pages. Over 450 colour illustrations and over 160 drawings. 227mm x 278mm. Hard cover, £40.
- Bomford et al. Italian Painting before 1400. London: National Gallery, 2002. The catalogue of an exhibition which described the findings from scientific analysis concerning how these western European medieval paintings were created. Many of the materials and techniques would have been the same as used in icons.
- Cennini, Cennino d’Andrea. The Craftsman’s Handbook (translated by Daniel Thompson). New York: Dover, 1960. Although not describing icon techniques as such, Cennini does describe many traditional techniques and materials doubtless used by iconographers.
- Dionysius of Fourna. The Painter’s Manual of Dionysius of Fourna (translated by Paul Hetherington). London: Sagittarius Press, 1981. The most thorough of the manuals describing Greek icon and wall painting techniques. Written on Mount Athos 1730-1734.
- Gottsegen, Mark David. The Painter’s Handbook. New York: Watson-Guptill, 2006. One of the best technical art books around, more up to date than the classic works by Mayer and Doerner. Highly recommended.
- Mactaggart, Peter and Ann. Practical Gilding. Herts., England: Mac and Me Ltd., 1985. Small, but one of the best books on gilding techniques.
- Mayer, Ralph. The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques. Faber and Faber, 1982. A classic. Much material superseded by Gottsegen, but still full of good information.
- Ramos-Poqui, Guillem. The Technique of Icon Painting. Kent: Search Press Ltd. and Burnes and Oates,1990. A clear exposition of the author’s techniques. Out of print.
- Sendler, Egon, S.J. The Icon, Image of the Invisible. California: Oakwood, 1988. An excellent introduction to the theology, style, history, and technique on icon painting. In much greater depth than most. Unusual in that it combines chapters on technique, theology and hisotry. Out of print but am told that it is due to be reprinted.
- Theophilus. On Divers Arts. New York: Dover, 1979 (translated with notes by John G. Hawthorne, and Cyril Stanley Smith). An early twelfth century work, describing various art techniques including the Byzantine membrane technique of egg tempera.
- Thompson, Daniel V. , Jr. The Practice of Tempera Painting. New York, Dover Publ., 1962. A detailed account of painting techniques, gessoing, and gilding.
- Tsekoura, Lito (Editor). The Hidden Beauty of Icons. Athens: Ministry of Culture – 10th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, 2004. A detailed scientific analysis of old icons. The Greek Orthodox Convent of Ormilia, Greece, has an extensive labarotory dedicated to analysing icons using state of the art equipment. They do invaluable work in revealing what pigments and layering systems were used to make the icons they study. There are surprising results.
Technical and historical works related to fresco, lime plaster, secco:
- Dionysius of Fourna. The Painter’s Manual of Dionysius of Fourna (translated by Paul Hetherington). London: Sagittarius Press, 1981. The most thorough of the old manuals describing Greek icon and wall painting techniques. Written on Mount Athos 730-1734.
- Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture (translated by Morris Hicky Morgan). NY: Dover, 1960. Written by the Roman architect in the first century B.C. Book VII contains much of interest on plastering techniques.
- Winfield, David C. Byzantine Wall Painting Methods. A detailed analysis, largely based on the author’s extensive restoration and conservation of Byzantine wall paintings. Very difficult to find.
On the relationship of the icon with the arts:
- Bychkov, Victor, The Aesthetic face of Being: Art in the Theology of Pavel Florensky. Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1993.
- Cavarnos, Constantine. Byzantine Thought and Art, Belmont, Mass, USA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1980.
- Cavarnos, Constantine. Fine Arts and Tradition, Belmont, Mass, USA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 2004.
- Evdokimov, Paul, The Art of the Icon: a theology of beauty. Oakwood, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1990. A very penetrating and broad analysis of icons, beauty and art. More affirmative of non- iconographic art than Leonid Ouspensky’s works.
- Florensky, Pavel, Iconostasis,. Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996. A seminal work that helped restore traditional iconography in Russia in the early 20th century.
- Hart, Aidan. www.aidanharticons.com. On the articles page there are various articles on the icon, art and the Orthodox spirituality.
- Louth, Andrew. “Orthodoxy and Art,” in Walker. A et al (editors) Living Orthodoxy in the Modern World, London, SPCK, 1996. Pages 159-177. One
Orthodox response to the phenomenon of western art:
- Michelis, P. A. , An Aesthetic Approach to Byzantine Art. Dufour Editions, USA (also Batsford UK), 1955. A classic work that interprates art history using the category of the sublime and not just beauty.
- Michelis, P.A. . Aisthetikos: Essays in Art, Architecture and Aesthetics. Wayne State University, 1977. A refreshing series of essays in which the author, an estabished academic of aesthetics, considers aspects of 20th century art and architecture from a more spiritual vantage than most art scholars.
- Rexine, John E., An Explorer of Realms of Art, Life, and Thought. Belmont, Mass, USA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1985.
- Sherrard, Philip, The Sacred in Life and Art. Ipswich, UK, Gorgonzola Press, 1990. An Orthodox thinker who attempts a spirtual analysis of the predicament of western art.
Useful books for quality large illustrations of icons:
- “Hellenic Terni” series. Athens: Eidetic Athenian, 1994-1995. In Greek and also English. Difficult to find, but excellent for large reproductions and details:
- Axiemastou-Potamianou, Myrtali. Byzantine Wall Paintings. 1994
- Vokotopoulos, Panagiotis. Byzantine Icons, 1995
- Galavaris, George. Byzantine Manuscript Illuminations, 1995
- Xatzidaki, Nano. Byzantine Mosaics, 1994