Ladder of Divine Ascent


  • Created: 2019
  • Unframed, as iconography art is traditionally not framed
  • Egg Tempera on Gesso Board, 23 Karat Gold. Paint and board are hand-made by the artist. Egg tempera paint is traditionally created by hand-grinding dry powdered natural pigments into an egg yolk binder. Made only from free-range eggs. 23 karat double thickness genuine German gold leaf is used for gilding. Hand-selected poplar wood, kiln-dried, traditionally cut and relieved. Boards are gessoed and have linen under the gesso. The true gesso contains the natural products only. The marble dust, chalk, water and rabbit skin glue. Only distilled water is used because the simple water may contain metals, salt and other chemical elements. Egg tempera was a primary method of painting until after 1500 when it was superseded by the invention of oil painting.

Kateryna Kurylo is a professional artist living in Toronto, born in Ukraine. She paints in oil, acrylic, egg tempera landscapes, portraits, abstract, iconography and creates figurative clay sculptures casting in metal.

The Presentation at the Temple painting took over 200 hours to complete, within 5 months.

The egg tempera iconography works are inspired by her childhood spent in Ukraine, as well as travel experiences, specifically in Italy. For Kateryna, the influences are not of religious reasons. Her artistic philosophy is on the traditional painting technique, as well as the family representation and values that appear in iconography. The style of her iconography work is a combination of Byzantine and early Renaissance art.

Classical music is a vital part of her painting process. All paintings are created while listening to classical music such as George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Pachelbel and the opera.

Creating Egg Tempera Paints – Egg yolk is rolled on a gauze fabric to absorb excess white. Yolk sac is broken with a pin. Contents of the yolk sac is mixed with small drops of water and vinegar. Yolk sac is disposed. Water is added to the dry pigment to create a creamy paste. Egg yolk is added to the pigment paste just before applying, and water is used to thin tempera as needed.

Application – Tempera paint dries rapidly. It is applied in many thin, semi-opaque or transparent layers. Tempera painting allows for great precision when used with traditional techniques that require the application of numerous small brush strokes applied in a cross-hatching technique. When dry, it produces a smooth matte finish. In this respect, the colors of a tempera painting can resemble a pastel. Tempera colors do not change over time, whereas oil paints can darken and yellow with age.

Additional information

Dimensions 14 × 11 × 1 in
UWCF Colors

Beige, Black, Brown, Dark Pink, Gold, Green, Light Blue, Medium Blue, Navy Blue, Orange, Red, White

UWCF Sizes

Small: e.g. 8 x 10", Vertical

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