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    Historically, icons covers (oklad) intially served to protect icons during travel.

    But even in early Byzantine times (e.g., 4th century), oklad covers became elaborated to enhance and focus attention on the icon painting underneath.

    Examples of such elaboration can be seen in many of the oklad cover icons offered by the Silver Icon. For example, one type of elaboration was in the representation of multiple Figures and Scenes in the oklad cover. Another elaboration the use of Glass Crystals and Amber as well as Jewels and Semi-Precious Stones.

    A final elaboration, the subject of this page, is the intricate and elaborated Enamelling and Metalworking typical of the icons offered by The Silver Icon.

    The fine detailing of the pewter and silver plated icons is achieved by first spinning a continue thread of hot copper onto a die. The dies typically are copies from 18th and 19th century Russian icons. This spinning forms a copper substrate that is soft and thus reproduces details of the die with exquisite faithfulness. The copper substrate is then electroplated with pewter or silver.

    The icons in the on-line catalogue of The Silver Icon can be organized into three groups:


#A33 St. Nicholas Worker of Miracles
#A33 St Nicholas
#A34 Jesus Christ Receiving Three Great Bishops: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. Chrysostom
#A34 Christ Receiving Bishops
The following observations are about iconic style as carried out in the metallic covers of type "A" icons.

Distorted Perspective. Iconographers (Eastern) often distort three dimensional perspective in order to convey that the subject matter is not "of this world".

In icon A33 (St. Nicholas) the body appears flattened.

In icon A34 (Receiving Bishops), Christ is portrayed larger than 3-d perspective would suggest.

#A51 St. Francis
#A51 St Francis
#A35 The Bogolyubsky Virgin
#A35 Bogolyubsky
In icon #A51 (St. Francis and #A35 (Bogolyubsky), background scenes suggest depth of field but with foreshortened distances.

The six scenes from the life of St. Francis purposefully do not have perspective lines that narrow with distance (e.g., what would happen with railroad tracks going towards the horizon). In many icons, perspective lines actually diverge going into the far distance.

In icon #A35, the land/trees do not fully take advantage of 3-d perspective.

#A57 St. Patrick of Ireland
#A57 St Patrick
#A61 St. Adalbert
#A61 St Adalbert
3-d Perspective Suggested. Celtic icons #A57 (St. Patrick) and #A61 (St. Adalbert) are are different than previous 4 icons (#A33, #A34, #A51, & #A35). That is, 3-d perspective is strongly suggested with the use of buildings in the background as well as bodies that are more life-like.
#A61 St. Adalbert- Detail of Celtic Swirl & Dragon
#A61 St Adalbert - Detail
#A62 Blessed Mary MacKillop from Australia
#A62 MacKillop Australia
Celtic icons. Two charcteristics in the #A61-Detail image indicate #A61 to be a Celtic icon. First is interlocking broadly curved lines. Second, a small animal is worked into the curving lines design. The animal is a mythical pagan dragon (with wings) which the early Christian Church required Celtic Christian iconographers to stylize (hide) in the background.

Animals. Animals on the border can be seen quite distinctly in icons #A57 (St. Patrick) and #A62 (Blessed Mary MacKillop from Autralia). It is interesting that in both these icons, the animals cross the border and extend into the center area. Typically, the border is a distinct area from the rectangle ("phon" in Russian) containing the central figures.

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#S51 - Christ Pantocrator
S51 - Pantocrator
Larger, full image of S51
Very Large Image of S51
S51 - Christ Pantocrator: Enamelling
S51 Enamelling Detail

S1 - Christ Pantocrator: Metalworking
S1 Metalworking Detail

#S1 - Mother of God of Teodor
S1 - Teodor
Larger, full image of S1
Very Large Image of S1
S1 - Mother of God of Teodor: Enamelling
S1 Enamelling Detail

S1 - Mother of God of Teodor: Metalworking
S1 Metalworking Detail

    The enamelling for Silver Icons S1-S65 is double-baked for hardness. Gold threads typically form reservoirs into which the enamel is placed, thus creating the a cloisonne appearance.

    As seen above, the metalworking for Silver Plated Icons is quite fine, with considerable three-dimensional bas-relief.

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#P7 - Mother of God of Kazan
#P7 Kazan
10.1/2 x 12.1/8" 27x31cm
Pewter Plated,
Brass Halos

    The enamelling for Pewter Icons P1-P23 is hand-painted.

    The metalworking has fine detailing.
    In addition, the folds in the robes area create a three-dimensional bas-relief, an effect which is enhanced in larger icons.

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