SERVING THE CHURCH THROUGH ICONS: The Online Icon Course course is an ongoing project, exploring the iconography of the Church in depth. Beginning in the earliest Church, the units trace the interweaving of theology, liturgy, church design and personal devotion. Initially developed for icon painters, the course includes practical exercises to develop the skills needed for liturgical design. It is now being made available to all with an interest in developing standards of excellence in ecclesial art today. It is recommended not only to iconographers, but to priests, church architects, catechists and art teachers, and to all those for whom art is part of their spiritual journey.
It seems that one of the oldest techniques of painting icons was that described in an early 12th century work named De Diversis Artibus (On Diverse Arts), by the pseudonymous author Theophilus. This is usually called the membrane technique. Simply put, in this method the painter first paints the work in monochrome to establish the form. Glazes of the middle tone (membrane) are then applied to establish the colour areas. These are translucent enough to let the underpainting show through. The shadows are then re-establshed, and the highlights gradually built up in layers progressively lighter, as in the proplasmos method (the method most commonly used today in icon painting). The famous contemporary Russian painter Archimandrite Zenon is generally credited with the revival of the membrane technique.
Aidan is a professional iconographer with many years of experience in all aspects of church design. He founded and teaches a three-year part-time Certificate course for The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and also runs two five-day general icon painting courses each year.
Many of the great Byzantine and post Byzantine icons are painted in this technique.
Over a strong brush line drawing, the harmonising base colours of the composition are laid down. The graphic lines and shadows are then re established before working through a carefully structured set of highlights to establish the modelling of form. The idea is to work from dark to light, finishing with dynamic calligraphic finishing highlights which bring the icon to vibrant life. Peter has a profound knowledge of the Romanesque and Italo-Byzantine styles of western Europe, which are closely affiliated to this technique, and teaches students who wish to develop their understanding and skills and in this field. A highly accomplished gilder, he specialises in water gilding with stamped and tooled ornaments.
CONTACT PETER MURPHY at www.petermurphyicons.co.uk
COURSES AT THE ST. PETER’S CENTRE FOR SACRED ARTS: peterscourses.artweb.com/
Peter is the founder of the ecumenical school of icon painting at the St Peter’s Centre for Sacred Arts, in the ancient and atmospheric Anglican Church of St Peter’s, a stones throw from Canterbury Cathedral.
Icon carving is the creation of a holy image through relief techniques on wood, stone or bone material. What was once a thriving vehicle for the iconographic tradition through glorious Byzantine ivories, wooden icons and even monumental stone carving, had become somewhat neglected in the past few centuries. Today, this ancient art is being restored all over Europe and North America. Jonathan Pageau is one of the handful of iconographers working to revive icon carving and create a cohesive language for the tradition today. He has recently developed a powerful series of drawings, based on early iconography, with the aim of recasting key elements into the traditional, living and multi-faceted language of carved icons To see Jonathan at work go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW4EYu97tjk
Jonathan Pageau accepts carvings commissions which stretch from the miniature to the monumental. He also teaches weeklong icon carving workshops in wood and stone with Hexaemeron school of liturgical arts. His carving classes are accredited in the Master of Sacred Arts programme developed by www.pontifex.university