Traditions across Europe-an eTwinning project

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, TRADITION and myth frame our response.” (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.)

Glass-painted Icons June 9, 2008

Filed under: Typical activities — ivasil @ 4:39 pm

Painting icons on glass is a traditional Romanian activity. Pupils still learn how it’s done and try painting icons themselves, at least in our school, due to our dedicated Art teacher.

We are taking part in a Comenius project called „PLI. The Place we Live In”, with four more schools from Spain (the coordinating school), Poland, France and Italy (you can see some of our work here) and, for the transnational visit we have just hosted last month, we thought of inviting our guests to a typical activity, something that they had never tried before. So, we organized a traditional glass-painting workshop. It was not very difficult, because the Art teacher had prepared the „negative” of the paintings and the Romanian pupils helped their foreign partners. The icons came out really beautiful, the kids had fun painting together while listening to Romanian music at the same time, and maybe even discovered new skills.

Here are a few photos from the work progress and some information about glass painted icons.

A „definition” of the glass icon says that it has to be done according to a model (izvod). The model is used for a few icons and then stored again for some time. It usually has no anatomical proportions, but balanced chromatic patterns . The models currently used are 200-300 years old.
The old icons on glass are not signed because they are not original. The writing is Cyrillic, but being illiterate people (not all apprentices could write), the name of the saint they represent is often hard to read.

The icons on glass appeared for the first time in Transylvania (a richer region, with many forests to be used as a source of fuel for the glass manufacturing).
The first icons were found near Cluj, Nicula, then Sibiel, Fagaras.
There are several elements of a typical icon on glass: it represents a character or more, the remaining space is filled with flowers borders, rope borders (Nicula), stars borders Fagaras (Olt), Brasov (Scheii Brasov). In Moldavia, icons are adorned with flowers larger than the human representations .
Typically, icons on glass are painted using brushes made of cat, squirrel or horse hair. Colors are almost pure, without combining them and are made by the painter himself using natural ingredients.
The icon can have a central character such as the Mother of God, appearing in three postures: happy, with the Holy Child, grieved, with Jesus on the cross, or at the Lord’s birth.
The frame is rubbed with a wax candle and brushed in order to get an old look.
An interesting detail is that the glass icons often have a painted border to indicate the margins (not to think that it was covered by the frame).

Class 8A, School n. 92, Bucharest


10 Responses to “Glass-painted Icons”

  1. Gina Says:

    A very interesting activity with wonderful results!

  2. ivasil Says:

    Thanks, Gina!
    The kids did remarkably well, indeed, all of them. A gifted bunch!

  3. Tom Duggan Says:

    What a wonderful idea! Congratulations on your project .
    I especially like the fact that the pupils visited each other.
    How many pupils actually visited and how did you travel?

  4. ivasil Says:

    Thank you, Tom.
    We had 18 guests: 10 teachers and 8 students. Besides the workshops and visiting the most significant places in Bucharest (the Parliament, the Village Museum etc.), we had a two-days trip to the mountains, including Bran, Dracula’s castle. Although, there’s much more to see here…The trip was by bus. As for students, ours live very near to the school, so, no problem.
    Do you know what ALL the pupils considered to be the best part of the visit, besides the trip? The Romanian cuisine. 🙂

  5. Cáit Says:

    Hi this is Cáit.

    I am from St.Brendan’s N.S. Kilkenny Ireland. I am in 6th class.
    I loved the idea that the children got to visit each other. The project sounded really good. It was a very interesting project.
    The two day trip to the mountains must have been really good.
    Got to go now bye!

  6. ivasil Says:

    Hi again, Cait!
    Yes, the children loved staying in their partners’ homes They are looking forward to the next visits.
    Have you ever visited Dracula’s Castle? Would you like to?

  7. Cáit Says:

    Hi Cáit here again.
    I have never visited Dracula’s Castle.
    Where is Dracula’s Castle and what is it?
    I’m sure I would like to go and see it sometime but not this year.(especially if it is scary!!)
    Where are the children going to visit next and what are they going to do?
    Bye for now.

  8. ivasil Says:

    Hi Cait,
    Dracula’s Castle is in a very nice area called Transylvania, in Romania, our country. It is a medieval castle you would like to visit, not scary at all, even if has secret stairs, towers and everything a real castle should have. If you ever come to Romania, make sure to visit it. Don’t worry, there are no vampires at all!
    The kids in our school will visit their French partners in October, in a town named Rouen. I don’t know for sure what they will do, but I’m told one of the activities might be a climbing contest. It’s supposed to be a surprise!
    We’ve been reading your schools blog. Were you surfing, too?

  9. Cáit Says:

    Hi Cáit here.
    Thanks for answering . I would love Dracula’s Castle.
    Pity there are no vampires!!! Yes I was surfing too. We all had a great day. We left our school at 9 o’clock in the morning in the bus.. We arrived in Tramore at 10 o’ clock. We then got into our wetsuits and went down to the beach and started to surf. Mr.Duggan even took part in the surfing. I was able to stand on the board a few times. Overall Darragh was the best of us all. After the surfing we had our lunch. We then went on a beach discovery walk along the beach. We found all sorts of things from dead crabs to seaweed. We left Tramore at around 3:15. We arrived in Waterford at 3:30 and went to Mac.Donalds. We arrived back at the school at 5:25. There were 37 pupils and 3 teachers in all. It was a great day for all!!!

  10. Thank you very much I hope you further progress and excellence

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