In Orthodox Christianity, icons are considered to be 'windows to heaven.' The traditional icon suggests a material world transfigured, radiant with divine light and love, seen not only with bodily eyes but also with the ‘eye of the heart.’ Although primarily associated with Eastern Christianity, broader interest and demand for icons has grown steadily. The Prince's Foundation—School of Traditional Arts (PSTA) established Icon-Painting Courses in 2009 to offer aspiring iconographers structured foundational courses.
The Foundation's Icon-Painting Courses are taught by a Master Iconographer and encourage a thorough understanding of the following:
- Iconographic Form Through Monochrome Studies
- The Orthodox Church's Theology of the Icon
- Egg Tempera Techniques for Icon Panel Painting
- Techniques for Pigment and Panel Preparation and Gilding
- Business Skills
All Icon-Painting Courses at PSTA are based on the traditional model of master/apprentice teaching. Instruction covers all the processes required to create traditional icons in egg tempera, including panel preparation, gessoing, gilding, pigment making, design principles, and painting techniques. The practical work of the student is placed into context through studies of the masterpieces of Icon painting and talks on theology, and the relationship of iconography to Church architecture and worship. Students are also guided in ways of developing their skills in the contemporary business environment.
Students who successfully complete a course will receive a certificate of completion outlining their achievements.
For enrollment and booking information, contact The Prince's Foundation.
On September 11, 2015, St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute celebrated the achievement of its first student to complete (with Honors) the PSTA Icon-Painting Course.
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for that course, the student mastered and implemented a 27-step Icon-Painting process, which culminated in the painting of a close-up image of St. Michael the Archangel using egg tempera and natural and semi-precious pigments. The student used geometry in the design of the halo, which was gilded with 23.5 carat gold leaf.
The iconographer has since painted other Icons including that of St. Spyridon of Trimythous the Wonderworker.
See also BlessedMart for Byzantine Art and Gifts.
Through my school for the traditional arts, I have tried to do what I can to continue the living traditions of the world’s sacred and traditional art forms. It is all too easily forgotten how crucial traditions are in handing on the immense richness of human knowledge, wisdom and skill, and giving them new life and new application. I hope that The School’s practical teaching and outreach programmes will enable the next generation to bring their inheritance to life.