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Icon painting. PKK Minium composition application

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Materials supplier: Mendeleev Ltd.
Compositions used: Minium antirust composition.
Object address: Kronstadt, St.Nicolas’ Naval Cathedral.
Works executed by: Icon painting workshop Kovcheg Ltd.
Date of operation: September, 2011.
Air temperature: +9 to +16ºС.
Relative air humidity: 64 to 97%.

Repair and restoration works of St. Nicolas’ Naval Cathedral in Kronstadt are conducted by a joint effort of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Navy and the Russian Federation Ministry of culture. Today a stage in the altar is dismantled, cathedral wall paintings and iconostasis restoration works are conducted. Icon restoration is a difficult and labor-consuming process, it was commenced by icon painting workshop Kovcheg.

Icon painting. PKK Minium composition application
Fig.1 – Copper plates painted with Minium antirust composition.
 

For anticorrosion protection the copper plates were covered with Minium antirust composition which provides the prolonged corrosion processes inhibition. This painting material was used as a primer layer for a metallic surface. The agent was applied with a brush, a roller and a paint sprayer in two layers. Product consumption per one layer: 130-150 g/sq m. The painting composition is quick-drying, its drying time is 1 hour, interlayer drying time is 2 hours.

Icon painting. PKK Minium composition application
Fig.2 – Plates covered with adhesive paint.

After treatment with Minium antirust composition the plates were coated with adhesive paint layer and the surface was treated with ceruse. The next step in icon painting is gilding. It is an extremely delicate and difficult work, requiring ultimate concentration of an icon painter.

Icon painting. PKK Minium composition application
Fig.3 – Painting the icon in oils.

Gilding was made with gold leaves. These leaves are very thin. Before gilding, the surface was preliminarily coated with Mordan varnish. The gold leaves were applied with a thin and wide brush. To perform the work one had literally to hold one’s breath.

Icon painting. PKK Minium composition application
Fig.4 – Plates covered with adhesive paint.

After gilding, icon painting was divided into several successive stages: fundamental tones laying; painting; clothes, houses and hills brightening up; ochring; assist applying (in rays and highlights, painted with gold or silver).

Icon painting. PKK Minium composition application
Fig.5 – Painting of a sacred image.

Icon painter began working on a sacred image.

Icon painting. PKK Minium composition application
Fig.6 – A superscribed icon.

After the sacred image was painted the icon was superscribed. After superscribing, the frame must be outlined. The icon must be dried out in a dust-protected place for a few days. The matt of the icon’s surface indicates the drying completion.

Icon painting. PKK Minium composition application
Fig.7 – Oil varnishing.

The closing stage of icon creation is coating it with oil varnish:

Icon is an integral part of the Orthodox tradition, an Orthodox temple and divine service as well as an Orthodox person’s home are scarcely imaginable without it. The icons painted by the specialists of icon painting workshop Kovcheg will become the decoration of the deacons gates. They are situated to the right of the holy gates and the center of the iconostasis. The gilders tried to preserve the traditions of ancient icon painting using the painting material combined with the most efficient Minium antirust composition.

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