"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Book on Icon Painting

Aidan Hart has just published what looks to be a most impressive book on the techniques of icon painting. (I am aware that some insist on speaking of "icon writing" but that is often an affectation based on overlooking the multivalence of Greek and Slavonic in which the verbs "to write" and "to draw" are so closely related as to be susceptible of either translation into English.)

Aidan Hart, Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting: Egg Tempera, Fresco, Secco (Gracewing, 2011), 460pp. + 450 colour illustrations + 160 drawings.

About this book we are told:
This is the most comprehensive book to date on the techniques of icon and wall painting. Illustrated by over 450 colour ilustrations and over 160 drawings, it is a source of pleasure and inspiration for the general reader as well as for the practising icon painter. More than just a technical manual, it sets artistic practice in the context of the Church's spirituality and liturgy, with chapters on the theology and history of the icon, and the reasons behind the placement of wall paintings within churches.
The book carries a slew of impressive endorsements, including from the well-known Orthodox theologian and hierarch, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, who writes in the preface: 
I know of no comparable work in the English language that deals with the technique of icon painting in such a thorough and comprehensive manner. Yet, while concerned with technique, the treatment is never merely technical. At every point we see how technique reveals a transfigured world. Spirituality and technology are combined together, so that each illuminates the other.
Another endorsement comes from Sr. Wendy Beckett, whose own recent book on icons I favorably discussed on here earlier:
An icon is visual theology, the Word of God. It can only be written in truth by one who seeks and loves this holy Word. Aidan Hart understands this to the depth.
On Hart's website, you may view a detailed table of contents, some sample plates, and find an order form to buy the book. 

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