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Religious icons, objects reflecting faith and devotion, are part of a millennium-old Christian tradition, deeply rooted In history and culture.  The importance of these spiritual
objects has inspired studies to better understand the materials and process of their construction. We review research from a variety of fields including recent analytical results
and old texts describing the materials and painting methods used In the production of icons. The protection and preservation of icons requires particular attention because of
their function; icons are objects of faith and to this day are still present In churches to serve ritual practices. Certainly they are affected by the various fluctuations of
environmental conditions and often at great risk due to public access.  The holiness of such icons often results In more damages to the subjects depicted, and the typical
tradition of the church is to periodically restore the depicted scenes, either by retouching any defects or by partial or complete overpainting. These interventions greatly
increase the complexity for conservation and attribution efforts. To reveal the extent and quality of the original paint layer under several old overpaints, darkened oil, layers of
analysis of collected samples is almost always necessary to clarify of the original  paint layer and identify reworks. A full understanding of these details is critical for
assessing the painting methods, stylistic traditions, and compositional concepts that render the different iconographic details their unique character. This approach is essential
In recognizing the evolution of  materials and techniques used In creating icons over the centuries.
Before treatment
Test prior to cleaning
After treatment: removal of numerous overpaintings and
old varnish, compensation of missing gesso, inpainting,
sealing
Before
treatment      
Before treatment      
Before treatment: multiple losses of paint layer
and gesso, flaking, separation of
paint and gesso from panel
Before
treatment      
Before treatment: multiple losses of paint
layer and gesso, water damages, dark varnish
Before treatment: stains, water damage and  old dark varnish     
Before
treatment      
Before treatment: missing gesso and
paint layer, dark varnish, traces of
burns In right corner   
After treatment
After treatment (detail):  removal of old
water damaged darkened varnish, minor
inpainting
After treatment: sealing
In progress: cleaning,consolidation of
paint layer and gesso
After treatment: compensated gesso
level, inpainted and varnished
In progress:  half varnish removal
After treatment
After treatment
In progress: half removal of old varnish,
compensation of areas missing gesso
After treatment: inpainting, revarnishing
Before treatment: degraded old varnish, losses of
paint layer, gesso, separation of gesso from board
In progress: removal old varnish, compensation
of missing gesso, chasing gesso, gilding,
inpainting
After treatment and revarnished.
After treatment
In progress: removal old varnish and background overpaint
After treatment (inpainted and revarnished)
Result after compensation for multiple
areas of missing gesso (ground layer),
and after inpainting and revarnishing
ICONS
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