Icons are small holy images painted on a lime-wood panel with a mix of tempera, egg yolk and hot wax. Brought to Ukraine from Constantinople by Volodymyr the Great in the 10th century and remaining the key religious art until the 17th century, icons were attributed with healing and spiritual powers. Icon painters - mostiy monks - rarely signed works, and depicted only Christ, the Virgin, angels and saints. Church murals, mosaics and frescoes, as well as manuscript illuminations, developed at the same time. Some of the oldest frescoes are found in Kyiv's St Sophia's Cathedral (p70).

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