Reliquary icon – VI The rib of Christ (from an art series: Reliquary icons)
2012, levkas, egg tempera, gilding, sculpted wood board, kowczeg, 31 x 17 cm (ID: 6095)
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.
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.