Medieval Icons Overview

During the Middle Age and in particular within the Byzantine Art, artists produced many kind of artworks, but the form of art mostly realized was probably the Iconography. Medieval Icons refer to the distinct tradition and style embodied in Orthodox religious images painted during the Byzantine Empire. This enduring heritage is a testament to the powerful religious experience that these images evoke. The purpose of medieval icons was first to create reverence in worship and second to serve as an illustrated story of The Holy Bible for illiterate people. So, medieval icons have been also called prayers, hymns, sermons in form and color.

 

Medieval Icons in Italy

Medieval Icons painting passed to Western Europe at the time of the Italian primitives, around the 13th century. As the Renaissance developed, medieval icons moved towards a renewed Classicism, and differences from the earlier Orthodox tradition became evident. According with styles of two major art school in Tuscany - Seienese school and Florentine school - medieval icons painters gave emphasis either to symbolic and religious contents, or, at the same time, to realistic element with more like-life shapes, naturalistic shades or using perspective.

 

Tuscan Art: Sienese School

Sienese painting school was born doubtless with Duccio di Buoninsegna. Others figures of this school, in fact, were all pupils of the master Duccio: Simone Martini and brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. One of each was important for the development of Sienese painting, Simone Martini introducing frescoes in the art of tuscan city, Pietro Lorenzetti with his study on deep and complex spatial settings and three-dimensional figure construction, Ambrogio who was perhaps the first in Europe to employ a single-point perspective. The importance of Sienese in Tuscan Art concern particularly the use of lyrical note and a refined sense of color depicting figures with more like-life proportion and shading as well.

 

Silvia Salvadori: Icons Reproduction

Silvia Salvadori was born in the heart of Tuscany, in a small town near Siena. Her training includes a diploma at the Art Institute “Duccio di Buoninsegna” and a degree in Art Conservation at University of Siena. This study path joined with the experience of a live spent in two of most important art cities (Florence and Siena) makes Silvia a specialist in icons reproduction of tuscan masters of Medieval period.

 

Icons Reproduction techniques

Silvia Salvadori’s work is not just an icons reproduction but interpretation of original wisdom and skills of tuscan masters as much as to take care of every single elements such as details, tools and material. For example she use linden and poplar panels, egg yolk tempera or pure gold for engravings to create a perfect copy of original one.

Icon Sacred Overview

Icon Sacred is a particular form of art depicting usually Saints and events drawn from Holly Bible. This particular kind of artwork spread, starting from Russia, to the rest of Europe in the Middle Age and especially during the Byzantine Art period. According to Orthodox Christian tradition icon sacred is not only a decoration or illustration but prayers, hymns, sermons in form and color actually. Its purpose is to direct all our senses, as well as mind and human nature to a true goal – the path of conversion, purifying us from every exaltation which can only be unhealthy. It shows human becoming god-like, although it does not cancel anything truly human: psychological element, various human characteristics.

 

Icon sacred in Italy

The russian influence of icon sacred get to Italy during the 13th century and Cimabue was one the most important italian artist working in the Byzantine style and painting icons sacred, but in front of scenes and shapes relatively flat and highly stylized, proper of Orthodox tradition, he depicted his figures with more life-like proportion and shading.

 

Tuscan Art: Sienese School

Sienese painting school was born doubtless with Duccio di Buoninsegna. Others figures of this school, in fact, were all pupils of the master Duccio: Simone Martini and brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. One of each was important for the development of Sienese painting, Simone Martini introducing frescoes in the art of tuscan city, Pietro Lorenzetti with his study on deep and complex spatial settings and three-dimensional figure construction, Ambrogio who was perhaps the first in Europe to employ a single-point perspective. The importance of Sienese in Tuscan Art concern particularly the use of lyrical note and a refined sense of color depicting figures with more like-life proportion and shading as well.

 

Sacred art purpose

Art historians usually refer to Sacred art as the Christian art of early Middle Age period. The major aim of its works was to teach dogmas of Christian religion and to tell narratives of Holly Bible on benefit of illiterates trough a particular iconographic system and themes developed to conclusively identify scenes.

 

Sacred Art Themes

Most important themes treated on Sacred Art were doubtless the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus and Christ on the cross probably the two most emphatic depictions of entire Catholic religion representing the born, the sacrifice, death and resurrection. Other objects were linked to the iconography of Saints such as Saint Agnes depicted with a lamb, Saint Peter with keys, Saint Patrick with a shamrock, severally images of purity, forgiveness and word of God trough the Saint Trinity.

Nativity Art Overview

Nativity art refers to range of artistic representations whose subject is Nativity or birth of Jesus based on the narratives in the Holly Bible, in Gospel ( of Luke and Matthew in particular ) or elaborated by oral, written and artistic Christian tradition. These depictions don’t usually represent Nativity specifically, but pay attention to devotional objects through the focus on singular attributes or aspects of Virgin Mary and Jesus. Often Nativity art works are unnamed so it’s usually referred to those as “Madonna and Child” and “Virgin and Child”.

 

Nativity Art Media

The subject of Nativity art is represented in many kind of media, both sculptural and pictorial. Forms of this include oil painting, panel painting, murals, stained glass windows, manuscript, murals. The Nativity has used for altarpieces often combining many media. Other sculptural form are free standing sculptures, ivory figurine, ceramic plaques or representations included in architectural elements such as door lintels or capitals.

 

Nativity Art in Tuscany

Many of the most renowned painters and sculptors of the tuscany art tradition have turned their skills toward Nativity Art. These artists include Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti, Sandro Botticelli etc.

Egg yolk tempera: History

Egg yolk tempera is a painting technique uppermost found in sarcophagi decorations of Egyptians but mostly spread in classical world during Middle Age when it have taken over from encaustic painting. After appearing, it immediately became the main method used for illustrated manuscripts and panel painting of Byzantine period, and in paintings of European Medieval and Early Renaissance up to 1500, when oil painting had the upper hand.


Egg yolk tempera: technique

Egg yolk tempera is a particular colored mixture based on yolk of the egg (the white and even the membrane are discarded) joined with natural powdered pigments such as vermillion. The results is a particular tempera whose density depends by constant proportion of yolk and water. In fact the mixture dries on contact to air so quickly that the artist has to continually adjust it with water. Anyhow this peculiarity allows painters being more precise than traditional techniques because they can apply thin and semi-transparent layers one above the other.

Examples of egg yolk tempera paintings

Thank to egg yolk tempera technique the painter can create more life-like shade of color and grey and obtain a more vivid a poetic depiction. So it shows you some work of Silvia Salvadori, a specialist in medieval art reproduction, where the artist had applied this method. 

 

Silvia Salvadori’s Byzantine Iconogrphy

Byzantine iconography is a singular art style, embodied in Orthodox religious tradition images, risen during the Byzantine Empire and lasted to contemporary days, thank to powerful religious experience that these images evoke. In fact the byzantine iconography is regarded not like a simple painting style, but as a prayer in itself, both the way and means. In the past icons had also the purpose to teach to illiterate people the events and facts narrated on Holly Bible.