Impasto is a technique used in painting, where paint is laid on an area of the surface (or the entire canvas) very thickly, usually thickly enough that the brushor painting-knife strokes are visible. Paint can also be mixed right on the canvas. When dry, impasto provides texture, the paint appears to be coming out of the canvas.
The word impasto is Italian in origin; in that language it means “dough” or “mixture”; the verb “impastare” translates variously as “to knead”, or “to paste”. Italian usage of “impasto” includes both a painting and a potting technique. According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, the root noun of impasto ispasta, whose primary meaning in Italian is paste.
Russian icons are typically paintings on wood, often small, though some in churches and monasteries may be much larger. Some Russian icons were made of copper. Many religious homes in Russia have icons hanging on the wall in the krasny ugol, the “red” or “beautiful” corner.
There is a rich history and elaborate religious symbolism associated with icons. In Russian churches, the nave is typically separated from the sanctuaryby an iconostasis (Russian ikonostas, иконостас), or icon-screen, a wall of icons with double doors in the centre.
Russians sometimes speak of an icon as having been “written”, because in the Russian language (like Greek, but unlike English) the same word (pisat’, писать in Russian) means both to paint and to write. Icons are considered to be the Gospel in paint, and therefore careful attention is paid to ensure that the Gospel is faithfully and accurately conveyed.
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