An icon should be present in each home – icon of the Savior, icon of Our Lady or icon of some saint. The icon will protect the home and the people, it will bring good health, happiness, success and peace of mind. The icon is not only a painting with strictly religious information; it is something more than an image. During the process of sanctifying the icon will receive the blessing presence of God. He will demonstrate his power and boon in a special way by some miraculous icons. It is important to know that icons should not be used for decoration; we should use them for prayer. Icon is a word of Greek origin (εικών) and it means "image", "portrait". Icon painting is an art which emerged in Byzantium in the 4th century and spread across the entire Orthodox world. The Orthodox icon is a spiritual field in the physical space. According to a legend the first icon was an image of the Savior and no human hands participated in this creation. This happened during the earthly life of Jesus Christ. The head of the city of Edessa, Prince Avgar was very ill. He heard of the countless miracles and healings associated with Jesus and sent a painter who had to depict the Savior. However the face of the Lord shined so much that the painter couldn’t depict it. Then Jesus washed his face and wiped it with a cloth on which His divine image appeared and he sent the cloth to the Prince. When Avgar received the image of Jesus he was healed of his disease. The first icons of the Virgin Mary were painted when she was still alive by the evangelist Luke. According to the church legend after the Virgin Mary saw her image she said: "The blessing of the child born by me and my grace will be with these icons." There is a person for each icon and there is an icon for each person! The icon is rightfully called "blessing in color". The content of the icon determines not only its composition but also the painting technique. Materials cannot be just any materials. The icon should be painted using neutral colors and steady material (usually wood). It cannot be painted on paper, glass, canvas or other fragile material. Icons are painted on a special wooden board on which we have canvas and primer. The image of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ or the respective saint is printed on a sheet of paper with true representation of prototype colors. This printout will serve as the so called “copy unit”. The lines of the icon are copied on the board. We delineate by a pencil only the main lines of the image structure – with no light level bounds. Copying is a method for keeping close to the prototype and the iconographic scheme regarding the expectation of believers who will pray before this icon. Therefore the holy person on the icon should match their historic image and have the respective message and spiritual appearance. Contours are made by pencil on the board and then a thin needle is used for scratching in order to have the paint stick and no parts of the image were lost. The second stage is the painting of the background. Usually in the background of icons gold is used. These are thin sheets with standard size and thickness. According to the purity of gold and the origin we have different shades and carats. In the icon gold represents the light of God. The sheets for the background are stuck on the primed board. Then the manual painting starts using paints with egg emulsion. Icons are painted by layers: from the dark parts to the light parts. This is the so-called painting through light and from the clothes to the face. The last painted elements are the lightest parts of clothing, then the faces and different inscriptions. Each detail should be depicted very precisely and finely and therefore we use the expression icon crafting. Icons attract with their grace and beauty of lines, clean, festive and vivid colors. This is a high, elevated art. The icon is considered a link of the present life with future centuries!
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