Friday, February 11, 2011

The Icons of Irina Gorbunova-Lomax

Here are some icons by a France-based Russian icon painter. She has and exquisite touch in the graceful flow of the line that conforms to the prototype and describes form beautifully. Also, she skillfully handles the delicate overlay of washes of colour retaining a freshness and giving the sense that they were produced by a sure, well-guided hand. Her gallery, here, has examples of works done on paper or parchment, some having the appearance of studies for other works. These particularly highlight her drawing ability. I have shown a few examples below.

Over the years I have been to many icon painting classes where people signed up because they felt that because icons are so highly stylised that the need for skilled drawing is less than in naturalistic styles (just as I have seen people painting landscapes in an impressionistic, or even expressionistic, style for the same reason). In fact the opposite is true. In icon painting, just as with any traditional form of representational art, drawing is the core discipline necessary for the realisation of ideas well conceived. In my experience, all good icon painters are all skilled draughtsmen. An inability to draw should not discourage people from signing up for icon painting classes however. Drawing is a skill that can be taught and a good class will do just that.
Just in case anyone is after details of the saints depicted, I can't help and am as frustrated as you. I don't read Russian, so perhaps there are some Russian speakers out there who can help...

...this is a footnote added just a few hours after posting: thanks to our readership the icons have identified in double-quick time! So the curious can have a look at the readers' comments below.

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