Glass icon painting workshop

Inspired from the 17th and 18th-century Transylvanian glass iconography in Romania, our workshop aims to initiate participants to the painting of an icon on glass, while respecting the traditional techniques of glass painting, as well as familiarizing them with the history of this artistic phenomenon which developed in certain regions of Romania during the two centuries.The tears of a wooden icon of the Virgin Mary in the village of Nicula made it possible to attract many pilgrims in 1694. At that time, Transylvania was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Pilgrims from all over Europe wanted to take a memory with them from the place of the miracle. So villagers begin to paint icons on glass, drawing inspiration from the icons sold by passing merchants coming from Central Europe. Soon, painting on glass has become a mass phenomenon. All the villagers were painting, and the whole family shared the task of making an icon: finding the glass, preparing the colors, making the contour, adding color, making the frames and the protective panel behind the icon.
Even though painting was not the basic occupation of the villagers, their inspiration came from the Byzantine icons of the Orthodox Church, which they loved very much and defended against the Austro-Hungarian pressures to convert to Catholicism. The most frequently used topics were Virgin Mary with Child, Saints of the House, The Last Supper, Lord’s Baptism, Lord’s Resurrection, and Holy Trinity.

The material of the icons was glass on which several successive layers of color were applied to the contour of a copied pattern. The surface on which the colors were applied became the back of the icon, and the painting appeared through transparency on the front. The colors used at that time were made of metallic oxides and natural products. After painting the icon, a layer of lacquer was applied on the back, then framed and its back protected with a fir wood panel.

Because of the competition between the village families of iconographers, some painters left the village and opened workshops in other regions of Transylvania. This has led to the emergence of more “schools”. This artistic phenomenon will last more than two centuries, from the end of the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century, spreading to several regions of Transylvania. The art of the icon on glass will lose its importance at the beginning of the 20th century with the appearance of the first lithographs. An exhibition of glass icons will be organized in our parish in May and June.

Organization of the workshop:
Through this glass iconography workshop, the parish aims to revive this ancient tradition. The workshop can be attended by children starting at 8-years old and adults. Participation requires membership in the cultural association (adhesion bulletin). Entries can be made online or at the church. A small amount of money will be required to buy the material. In this fascinating universe, you will be gladly accompanied by Ligia Iris Margineanu, amateur artisan, dental practitioner.

The workshop will be held during 4 meetings, which will take place on Saturdays and Sundays, May 13-14, and Saturday and Sunday 20-21 May, between 15 and 17 hours. The four meetings correspond to the different stages of making an icon, that is why it is necessary to be present throughout the workshop.

Saturday, May 13, 2017:
History and technique of painting on glass.
Color preparation and contouring.

Sunday, May 14, 2017:
Color Details (Shades and Lights).

Saturday May 20, 2017:
Color finishing.

Sunday 21 May 2017:
Fixing the paintings (vernis)
Coloring of the icon frame.

As a model, we will use the icon of the Lord’s Crucifixion for its beauty and symbolism, and for the technical simplicity of the drawing. Icons made by the participants will be sanctified at the end of the Divine Liturgy, Sunday 2 July, on the occasion of the parish day, and then they will be handed over to the iconographers.

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