Gilding, trough the past and in present time

guilding.jpg jelena_milutinovic.jpgGilding is a handicraft of decorating art and architectural works with thin metal leafs, usually golden and silver. Metal leafs are being fixed to the template with special adhesion substance and often protected by fixatives. The final phase is PATINA - infliction of paint to the gilded surface and then its fractional divestment. The aim of this finish is to discover profoundness of the details.

Jelena Milutinovic was born in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, 1979. She was growing in a family of private handicraftsmen that has been in the furniture restoration business since 1936.

At the age of 12, she met the techniques of gilding first time. From 1992 to 1995 master Sava Dimitrijevic and his son Dragan apprenticed her at their gilding workshop, located in the building site of the great Saint Sava Temple (Belgrade). Later she attends the state School of Art Handicrafts in Sabac and after 4 years gets the title of "cultural treasure conserver - gilder". Last year (2001) Jelena enrolled school of restoration "La Cantoria" in Florence, Italy.

As an apprentice of gilding workshop Dimitrijevic, she was included in works at the objects of Saint Sava Temple and Saint Mark Church. Independently, she executed restorations for needs of several other churches in Belgrade (like: St. Alexander Nevsky, St. Petka, "Ruzica") and museums (The National Museum and the Museum of Natural History).

She has been restoring the objects of different types: icons, painting and mirror frames, altar and roof crosses, monumental scripts, candle holders, sanctuary lamps and other things for sacral use. This artist has been applying the gilding techniques on most different materials: stone, ceramics, frescoes, metal, glass, wood, plaster coast, canvas, leather and paper� She also applied gilding and silvering on stylish and modern furniture.

An example of her work on interior decoration is given in "Optimist Club 42", Belgrade.

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Gilding, trough the past and in present time

Gilding is a handicraft of decorating art and architectural works with thin metal leafs, usually golden and silver. Metal leafs are being fixed to the template with special adhesion substance and often protected by fixatives. The final phase is PATINA - infliction of paint to the gilded surface and then its fractional divestment. The aim of this finish is to discover profoundness of the details.

Gold is the most desirable material for gilders works, as it doesn't corrode. Silver leafs are more addicted to rust. Through history, gold, silver, bronze, aluminum and other materials of different finesse were weld manually to thin leafs. Now?days machines produce metal leafs, since the second decade of 20th century. These can be thin up to 0.1 m. It is possible to buy gold leafs of different finesse, grist and asperity. Leafs made of the purest, 24 carat gold are the softest.

Some of gilding techniques date from the ages of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia (over 2500 BC). Art of gilding architectural sculpture reached its climax in ancient Greece. Gilding was widely exerted in Roman art. In mediaeval painting, gold had a special iconographic significance, as a symbol of light. That attitude is being held up to now in Eastern Europe, where the longest tradition exists in Greek and Russian gilding schools - based on Byzantine heritage. In Western Europe, gilding reached tremendous popularity again in 18th century. Gilded surfaces got an additional function: to reflect and spread abroad light of the candles that were used to illuminate rooms.

In Serbia, after the World War II and the socialist revolution, alongside with the disappearance of middle class and suppression of the Church to the margin of society, the number of gilding works ordering parties is being dramatically reduced. The handicraft was dying. Only museums and cabinets of high communist officials needed services of gilders.

Gilding alleviates after 1989, when a massive evocation of national and religious identity set in motion renovation of the neglected churches and monasteries, as well as the equipment of the new established ones. The need for restoration of antiquities in private collection is in progress too. It is also noticeable that within last several years gilding 's been getting more space in modern Serbian architecture (especially in interior and furniture decoration).

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