A unique handmade icon with enamel (smalt) made by the brotherhood in the Holy Monastery of Saint Elisavet.
Dimensions: 4.5 x 6 cm.
This icon was for many years in the Catholikon of the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi. In 1730, however, it suddenly disappeared from its position and was found in the Monastery of Xenophontos. The Vatopedians were persuaded of the miracle and decided not to resist to the will of the Theotokos. Μore about Theotokos Hodegetria.
The history of enamel (smalt) is literally dawning many centuries back, while the oldest samples are found in the civilization of Mycenae. The art of the smalt reached its zenith during the Byzantine times (8th – 12th centuries), when it was applied in ecclesiastical, as well as in luxurious items. Through the ages, smalt was considered an expensive and valuable piece of art, which was based on the use of grated glass – mass, colored with various metallic oxides. This mass is placed on a metallic surface and is baked in a special oven in temperature of 600 to 900 C. When the glass mass gets cold, it becomes solid, creating one merged mass with the metal. In that way, smalt can offer us pieces with bright, shining and vivid colors.