89 Mircea Eliade. (Ed. by Diane Apostolos-Cappadona), Symbolism, the Sacred and the Arts. (New York, NY: Crossroad Pub. Co., 1986), p. 76.
90 Ouspensky, 1992, p. 170.
91 Ibid, p. 11.
92 Ibid, p. 160.
93 Ibid, p. 161-162.
94 Clendenin, 1994, p. 80.

Sometimes there is a hand at the top of the icon representing God.95 Light permeates the icon like light permeates heaven. There are no shadows. Often, the color gold represents the idea that “…light is called the background of the icon.”96 The body of Christ became luminous and in the same way, the bodies of the saints are portrayed as luminous in icons.97 The halo or nimbus is also used to convey the idea of the eternal. “The gold nimbus or halo around the head symbolizes the brilliance of Divine Light in the person who lives in the intimacy of God.” – more interest in soul than body.98 This is divinity brighter than the sun.99 If the icon has a square halo, it indicates that the icon was painted when the person was still alive.100

Some Physical Features of Icons

Because the intent of iconography was that the artwork be usable in the church for many years, even centuries, a unique process of iconography was developed to ensure preservation. Many layers, consisting of loosely woven linen, a glue and chalk mixture, gold, and egg tempera paint using earth tones, make up the icon. “The icon is an image painted in tempera, with pigments of natural colors mixed into egg yoke. It is painted upon the surface of a wooden board covered with a preparation of plaster mixed with glue.”101

95 Baggley, 1988, p. 79.
96 Ouspensky, 1992, p. 192.
97 Ibid, p. 159.
98 Quenot, 1991, p. 100.
99 Ouspensky, 1992, p. 174.
100 Ibid, p. 176.
101 Zibawi, 1993, p. 64.