Want to Collect Russian Icons? Where to Start?

Want to Collect Russian Icons? Where to Start?

You do not necessarily need to be an accomplished scholar in religious icon art if you want to start collecting antique Russian icons. However, you may still require some useful tips that will help you make purchasing decisions. Thus, before amassing a religious objects collection and appropriate library as well, most contemporary Eastern Orthodox icon collectors tend to start with just a few so-called “test” examples. That’s actually a good idea, especially for those, who are not too familiar with the distinctive Russian icon art. Moreover, the best option for all novice collectors, who want to avoid all possible challenges, is to work with a competent and professional dealer able to help with advice and take care of the religious icons authenticity.

The next important step is to become familiar with the antique Russian icons vocabulary that is quite specific by the way. Here are just some of the most common terms and words you need to understand in order to enhance your collecting experience:

  • Doska (panel) – the foundation of the Russian icon made of wood.
  • Kovcheg (ark) – the recessed rectangular or square central area of the icon panel intended for the main image.
  • Levkas (gesso) – the white mixture, consisting of powdered chalk and glue, which is used in painting religious icons.
  • Luzga (husk) – the outer slanting edge around the kovcheg.
  • Pavoloka (canvas) – the cloth glued onto the Russian icon surface.
  • Polya (field) – the outer, raised, flat border around the icon.
  • Opush (trim) – the colored strip around the very outer edge of the polya.
  • Shponki – the slats inserted into the back of the Russian icon to prevent warping.
  • Svyet (light of the icon) – the space between persons and ground, buildings, and trees.

These are just some of the words from the basic vocabulary you should know when talking about antique Russian icons in particular and Eastern Orthodox Church icons on the whole. Moreover, when you buy a religious icon, it’s a wise idea to get its written description. In addition, get the antique icon assurance if possible. It will give you the opportunity to receive a full trade on another Russian icon or a full refund if the purchased item is unsatisfactory for certain reasons.

In this way, working with a reliable Russian icon dealer is your chance to protect yourself and your money. Furthermore, a professional dealer wants you to be a loyal customer highly pleased with your acquisitions and, therefore, will make every effort to achieve this goal. However, you are still required to learn more about antique Russian icons and everything connected to them. The truth is that the more you learn, the more interest you have in building a religious icon collection. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact RussianIcon. We are always ready to help you in your search!