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личное письмо (in context)

English translation: painting of the faces

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15:28 Dec 31, 2010
Russian to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting
Russian term or phrase: личное письмо (in context)
It occurs in a book about icons and describes the style of a particular iconographer. The full context is:

Художественной манере мастера, последователя так называемой Строгановской школы, присущи мягкие плавные линии, изящество и тонкость, отточенность рисунка и тщательное исполнение ***личного письма***. Фигуры святых в Успении удлиненных пропорций, с небольшими головами и руками. Они плотно заполняют иконное пространство, как бы парят на золотом фоне, едва касаясь позема, гармонично вписываются в сложные архитектурные кулисы.

письмо is a term used frequently in this field to mean a particular style, or to identify the painter, just as 'кисти' is used as an alternative to 'by'. Although icons of the Dormition sometimes have writing, that would not explain личное. All that I can think of is that it does indeed mean 'personal style', despite the phrase Художественной манере мастера at the start of the sentence.

Can anyone throw any light on this? Thank you in advance for any thoughts.
John Sowerby
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:47
English translation:painting of the faces
Explanation:
It occurred to me since I've heard icon faces referred to as "лики."

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Note added at 10 mins (2010-12-31 15:38:47 GMT)
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This may help:


Личное письмо и богословие иконы
http://st-jhouse.narod.ru/biblio/creation/savina.htm



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Note added at 13 mins (2010-12-31 15:41:53 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Here it is! It includes not only faces but exposed parts of the body (hands and feet, as mentioned in the previous article)

Личное письмо - стадия работы над иконой, когда прописываются лики и открытые части ...
http://icon-favor.ru/?page=859&idslovo=1904&page=859&p=&nm=

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Note added at 25 mins (2010-12-31 15:53:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I would say "careful rendering of face, hands and feet," especially since the next sentence is Фигуры святых в Успении удлиненных пропорций, с небольшими головами и руками.

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Note added at 31 mins (2010-12-31 15:59:30 GMT)
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The exposed parts apparently were painted differently than the rest of the icon:

In the technique used by Russian painters, clothing, draperies, faces and other fleshly parts of the human body were modeled according to a strict scheme. An underpainting of local color was laid down first. Then a series of shades each successively brighter than the local color were applied to achieve highlights.
http://www.naturalpigments.com/education/article.asp?Article...

The last thing done by he painter was to paint the hair and accent the faces, hands and feet by applying fine white lines and different kinds of highlights (bliki).
http://student.vfs.com/~gagan/interface/resources/class4/ico...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 33 mins (2010-12-31 16:01:31 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The face, hands, and feet were often the only exposed parts, so their execution must have been particularly important:

Intended only as a partial covering of silver, gold, or cheaper metal, the riza covers the entire painting except faces, hands and feet.
http://www.iconsexplained.com/iec/iec_icons_for_sale.htm
Selected response from:

Deborah Hoffman
Local time: 00:47
Grading comment
Thank you very much, especially for the references. My thanks also to everyone else for their input.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
2 +5painting of the facesDeborah Hoffman
4and meticulous/thorough portrayal of images
Michael Korovkin
3 +1personal style
Sanych_Msk
4with a technique particular to the artist
Alexandra Taggart
3Pls see below
Yuri Larin


  

Answers


17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
personal style


Explanation:
Personal style (of painting) is OK.

I would like to draw your attention to some specific usage of Russian verbs ...

If it is informal drawings or pencil drawings we use the verb: рисовать

And if it is oil-and-canvas painting we use the verb: писать. At least professional artists (art critics, etc.) in Russia prefere to use this verb.

"Художник пишет маслом (масляными красками) по холсту". (Не рисует !)

So you are right: письмо here means style or manner of painting.

Sanych_Msk
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:47
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ingunite
27 days
  -> Спасибо !
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +5
painting of the faces


Explanation:
It occurred to me since I've heard icon faces referred to as "лики."

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 10 mins (2010-12-31 15:38:47 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

This may help:


Личное письмо и богословие иконы
http://st-jhouse.narod.ru/biblio/creation/savina.htm



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 mins (2010-12-31 15:41:53 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Here it is! It includes not only faces but exposed parts of the body (hands and feet, as mentioned in the previous article)

Личное письмо - стадия работы над иконой, когда прописываются лики и открытые части ...
http://icon-favor.ru/?page=859&idslovo=1904&page=859&p=&nm=

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 25 mins (2010-12-31 15:53:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I would say "careful rendering of face, hands and feet," especially since the next sentence is Фигуры святых в Успении удлиненных пропорций, с небольшими головами и руками.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 31 mins (2010-12-31 15:59:30 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The exposed parts apparently were painted differently than the rest of the icon:

In the technique used by Russian painters, clothing, draperies, faces and other fleshly parts of the human body were modeled according to a strict scheme. An underpainting of local color was laid down first. Then a series of shades each successively brighter than the local color were applied to achieve highlights.
http://www.naturalpigments.com/education/article.asp?Article...

The last thing done by he painter was to paint the hair and accent the faces, hands and feet by applying fine white lines and different kinds of highlights (bliki).
http://student.vfs.com/~gagan/interface/resources/class4/ico...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 33 mins (2010-12-31 16:01:31 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The face, hands, and feet were often the only exposed parts, so their execution must have been particularly important:

Intended only as a partial covering of silver, gold, or cheaper metal, the riza covers the entire painting except faces, hands and feet.
http://www.iconsexplained.com/iec/iec_icons_for_sale.htm

Deborah Hoffman
Local time: 00:47
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
Thank you very much, especially for the references. My thanks also to everyone else for their input.
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you very much, especially for the references. As it turned out, 'лик' appeared only shortly afterwards in the text.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  erika rubinstein
24 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  David Knowles
25 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  svetlana cosquéric
31 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  cyhul
12 hrs

agree  LanaUK
1 day 3 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Pls see below


Explanation:
"…exquisitely (sharply) executed and minutely detailed images of saints (saints' faces, etc.) in smb’s icons"

Maybe you can't capture it all in one or two words and have to compromise:)

Yuri Larin
Ukraine
Local time: 07:47
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in UkrainianUkrainian
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 day 5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
and meticulous/thorough portrayal of images


Explanation:
in anglophone usage “лик“ is "image" rather than “face"

Michael Korovkin
Italy
Local time: 06:47
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 35
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2 days 5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
with a technique particular to the artist


Explanation:
.

Alexandra Taggart
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:47
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 12
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