Romanian Reverse Glass Painting - Female Saint

Romanian Reverse Glass Painting - Female Saint


A Romanian reverse glass painted ikon depicting a female saint, possibly Saint Sophia. She wears and elaborate crown and spots and splurges enliven her robes, giving the icon a naïve flourish. The figure is framed by garlands of flowers which add to the primitive, folk-art effect.

This type of delightfully naïve ikon was produced in Transylvania in the mid 20th century. The images were painted directly onto glass, beginning with the outlines and the foreground before building up towards the background - the opposite practise from a regular painting.

This technique has been popular in Romania since the 17th century, when it was introduced by the ruling Hapsburg Empire. Folk artists took the German technique, but adapted it to create cheap and colourful icons for the local orthodox population.

The ikon has been cracked across the centre - visible in the picture. This is an old flaw and has been restored ensuring the glass is stable.

It measures 36 x 46 cm

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