Reliquary icon (from an art series: Reliquary icons)
2014, levkas, egg tempera, shellac, sculpted wood board, kowczeg, 70 x 40 cm, the icon is part of the iconostasis (ID: 6101)
Kowczeg - a shallow depression in the centre of the front side of a board. In the Church Slavonic language the word kowczeg means an ark and refers to the Ark of the Covenant. This is supposed to indicate the sacred character of the painting itself as a kind of relic. In kowczeg placed the main image, and at the edge of the board, called the field of the icon - small scenes and figures of saints (klejma) or inscriptions. Often the field remains empty, or part of the image enters it from kowczeg (eg halo). A small curve between the field of the icon and kowczeg, is called łuzga.
Levkas (gesso) - (from the Greek word leukos, meaning white), a glue and chalk primer used in panel painting and gilding. It is applied hot on the icon, usually in about twelve layers. One layer for one day. The prayer of the ritual then directs its attention to the Apostles (one for each layer). It recalls their deeds and asks for intercession.
Shellac - a variety of natural resin, extracted from the secretion of insects (Kerria lacca) called Juneflies (from the red colour), which live in India and Thailand on trees, popularly known as shellac trees. Depending on the type of tree, shellac ranges in colour from yellow to reddish-brown. In India, this resin has been used since ancient times as a dye for colouring clothes. Since the 16th century, it has been a valued furniture finisher, as well as an ingredient in varnish, lacquer and violin varnish. Natural shellac, despite the widespread use of synthetic resins, is irreplaceable in many fields: food industry, pharmaceutical industry, production of paints and varnishes, ink, restoration of historical objects.
Egg tempera - the most durable technique, next to wax tempera, in which the binder of colours is organic. It can be wine, vinegar or water mixed with egg yolk (egg tempera). This technique has been known since antiquity and was most popular in the Middle Ages. Unlike oil painting, the paint dries quickly, becomes brighter when dry and it is more difficult to select and mix colours.