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Byzantine Museum of Athens, Icons

The portable icon was an exclusively Byzantine product. From a technical point of view the making of an icon has retained certain stable features throughout the entire course of its existence. It is made of a panel of wood covered by a thin coating of gesso over which a piece of linen is sometimes stretched. The first design, which can be drawn by the point of a burin, is then covered by opaque colours; a sort of tempera made from metallic and earthen materials agglutinated by the white of egg. This substance helps to preserve the original purity and intensity of the colours.