Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting

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n this publication Aidan Hart offers detailed explanations of the methods of the media that he works in: egg tempera, fresco, secco and gilding, with great thoroughness and right through to varnishing and even photographic artwork for publicity shots. As an experienced practitioner and teacher he anticipates the difficulties and questions of the students at every turn. At every stage he links what is done to the underlying principles of the tradition, and this opens the door to so much more.

Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting

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In this publication Aidan Hart offers detailed explanations of the methods of the media that he works in: egg tempera, fresco, secco and gilding, with great thoroughness and right through to varnishing and even photographic artwork for publicity shots. As an experienced practitioner and teacher he anticipates the difficulties and questions of the students at every turn. At every stage he links what is done to the underlying principles of the tradition, and this opens the door to so much more.

Once the parameters that define the tradition are well understood, it gives the student the flexibility to start creating original work without straying beyond its bounds. Hart takes us step by step through that process.

For those working in other traditions it gives a deep understanding as to how form (ie style), choice of medium, compositional design, even the framing is affected by the invisible truths that the artist is seeking to communicate. Elements that distinguish between different traditions, for example the gothic and the iconographic, is that each is seeking to emphasize different aspects of the anthropology, or what man is, and how that is represented in art. Understanding how the iconographic tradition is governed by these considerations will help artists in other traditions, for example the baroque, to see how the theology governs the form of their chosen tradition as well.

The first two considerations are what transforms an artistic style from pastiche into living tradition, that is capable of developing and responding to its time, without compromising its core principles.

Aidan Hart provides a simple easily understandable explanations of the different variations within the iconographic traditions, and unusually, includes the Western variants such as Celtic, Carolingian, Ottonian and Romanesque icons and explains just why they are iconographic.

Aside from this even much of what he is teaching at a technical level is of use to all painters: especially colour theory, harmonization of design, and the different attributes of using line and tone to articulate form. Although vital, drawing skill is not enough. Hart has as well a wonderful sense of composition and colour harmony and this book gives us great insights into how he does it. He shows us that as well as experience and good judgment, there are many guiding principles that the artist can make use of. For example, as well becoming lighter and darker, colours actually change in light in shade – a green might become bluer in shadow, rather than simply dark green. Aidan explains sytematically, colour by colour, how to adjust for light and dark so as to keep a coherent, unified image. The author's personal insights in this area make this title invaluable to all artists.

All this is supplemented by over 400 pictures, which include not just complete pictures of paintings, but also many which focus on small details that what he describes in the text.

Though presented from an Orthodox Christian perspective, this title is in no way exclusive and offers great insight for artists of all Christian traditions.

This book is recommended as reading for anyone interested in sacred art.

Additional Information

Author Aidan Hart
Pages 480
Cover Hard
Width (mm) 285
Height (mm) 235

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