Art has a continuing challenge to express feeling in different ways as communication media and technology evolves,and traditonal iconography is an artform that shares this challenge.
Before the invention of photography, paintings were very close to reality and were the way to record what was going on in other places. With the onset of photos, the need to be close to reality vanished and the artist could start to focus on emotions, colors, feelings. Impressionism and expressionism are just ‘sons’ of technology evolution.
Some art forms such as traditional iconography are different and the technology evolution is less important as they were already at a different level of communication.
Museums such as Palazzo Pitti in Florence are filled with paintings of 1200 or 1300, and people are attracted by them and captured by their beauty. Those paintings have a lot of in common with traditional iconography and they can help us to enter into a relationship with this art which is still so important for millions of people.
What is traditional iconography? Iconography is the art of reproduction with devotion of the great icons that originally were designed in Byzantium and became an art form in Russia about 10 centuries ago.
At a first sight, icons are already an abstract art. They describe angels and god and other religious subject that few people can understand deeply. Nevertheless, traditional iconography communicates great meaning to those who have studied the images in religion or to those who have been introduced to the symbols that they incorporate.
The Tondello sisters create traditional icon paintings of exquisite form. But to really understand these fine icons, it is necessary to connect with the Tondello sisters in their environment. The value of such an icon is much higher when the true meanings of the structure, shapes, detailed design, and colours integrated with it. The Tondello sisters have broadened their creations from the traditional orthodox church designs to those of the Catholic church, including saints not commonly revered in the Orthodox church in its traditional iconography. As your eyes wander around the studio and the home gallery, one or more particular images will arrest you.
We have been lucky because master Anna Maria Tondello introduced us to the deeper meanings of iconography and the hours we have spent with her in her studio viewing the different icons allowed us to directly experience her inner peace, passion and harmony.
The Tondello sisters have a close bond wherein Mariangela tends the timber, creates the surface, deposits the gold and shines it with agate to achieve radiance. Anna Maria then creates the painted figures and scenes. Each work may require several months to create as each of the many steps needs a specific time to elapse to ensure the highest quality. The workshop is filled with works at every stage of creation from timber base planes to works receiving their final glaze. For those seeking a unique reproduction for a special event, plan to visit Anna Maria Tondello several months before the event.