Our workshop, with faith and respect to the long-lasting tradition and the prototypes of the art of hagiography, as this is written in the testimonies that are retrieved up to our days, follows concrete stages for the manufacture of a Byzantine portable icon:
Drawing of the icon in paper, Preparation of the surface of the timber, Imprinting the drawing on the timber, Gilting, Waxing (according to the colours of the icon), Writing (dark output), Lammata (light output), Characteristics of the face, Lammata of the face (brightness
of flesh), Inscription of the icon, Varnishing. Each stage is part of the same rite bringing its own symbolisms to achieve the final divine result.
The planning is always based on the models of older icons. The most common are the depictions of Christ and Virgin Mary, the two major persons of Orthodoxy. One of the most basic iconographical compositions is the hagiography of “Dodekaorto”, that is to say 12
events in the life of Christ and Virgin Mary. The many-faced portable icon is also referred to as “hypothesis”. In this term, we mean the completed composition, which describes an event in the life of Christ or Virgin Mary from the “Dodekaorto”.
The timber on which the icon will be impressed symbolizes the tree of life of Paradise. It is important to fulfil certain conditions of appropriateness, such as dryness and resistance. For these reasons, we use massive timber, which assembles the required
attributes for the successful imprinting of the icon on it, and no synthetic substitutes.
Afterwards the completion of drawing, the first surface that accepts colour is the environment of the or plain, that is to say the background of the person or the many-faced scene of the subject, on which leaves of gold are stuck. This is called Gilting of the icon.
The gold symbolizes the imperishable and the eternal, and for this reason anything depicted the golden depth does not belong to the natural environment. Consistent to the tradition, we use leaves of pure gold.
In the next stage, that is the painting of icon, we follow the technique called “egg-tempera”, that is to say mixing colours in powder with a mixture of crocus of eggs and vinegar. This
mixture helps in the stabilisation of the colours.
Afterwards, the word Saint and the abbreviation of the name of the saint figure are impressed in the icon and finally the surface is varnished so as to stress the colours.
The traditional technique of Byzantine art has proved that it bears in the depth of centuries, thanks to the materials used and the style.
In our workshop, following the rules of this technique, we can guarantee the same inalterable in-depth time resistance for our works, provided that these are not placed near hearths of heating, are not exposed in the sunlight and they are not placed in humid places.