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Gold LeafWhen you need a little shine in your life

Gold is considered a divinely valuable material in nearly every culture on earth, and luckily for artists, it's extremely malleable. Gold leafing is the practice of hammering out extremely thin sheets of gold, down to .1 or .2 microns, and using it to coat objects, or apply to an image, and artists and craftsman have been doing it for millennia.

Ancient Egyptians lined their pharaoh's tombs with gold leaf. Greek sculptures clothed the chrysoelephantine statues in gold garments and armed them with gold-leafed swords. In the Middle Ages, monastic scribes emblazoned hand-copied bibles with gold-leaf illustrations, and even more recent artists like Gustav Klimt have added gold to their paintings for that glossy hint of the divine.

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Kushite priest wearing leopard's head

712 BCE-664 BCE

Qur'an leaf in Kufic script

900 CE

Scivias I.6: The Choirs of Angels

Hildegard von Bingen, 1150

Scivias I.6: Humanity and Life

Hildegard von Bingen, 1150

Scivias 2.1: The Redeemer

Hildegard von Bingen, 1150

Scivias I.3: God, Cosmos, and Humanity

Hildegard von Bingen, 1165

Book of Divine Works, Part 3, Vision 3: The Fountain of God’s Work

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 3, Vision 4: Wisdom and the Ancient Counsel before the City of God

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 3, Vision 5: Divine Love upon the Wheel

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 1, Vision 1: Theophany of Divine Love

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 1, Vision 2: The Cosmic Spheres and Human Being

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 1, Vision 3: Macrocosm of Winds, Microcosm of Humors

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 1, Vision 4: Cosmos, Body, and Soul

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 2, Vision 1: The Parts of the Earth: Living, Dying, and Purgatory

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 3, Vision 1: The City of God and the Mirror of the Angels

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Book of Divine Works, Part 3, Vision 2: The City of God in Salvation History

Hildegard von Bingen, 1230

Portable Icon with the Virgin Eleousa

1300

Altarpiece of Santa Reparata — Front

Giotto di Bondone, 1310

Altarpiece of Santa Reparata — Back

Giotto di Bondone, 1310

Baroncelli Polyptych

Giotto di Bondone, 1334

Polyptych of Bologna

Giotto di Bondone, 1330-1335

Last Judgment in an Initial C

Lorenzo Monaco, 1406-1407

The Crucifixion

Fra Angelico, 1420-1423

Christ Crowned with Thorns

Fra Angelico, 1438-1439

Virgin and Child in a niche

Luca della Robbia, 1460

Madonna and Child Enthroned

Carlo Crivelli, 1472

An Apostle

Carlo Crivelli, 1471-1473

The Adoration of the Magi

Hieronymus Bosch, 1475

Madonna and Child

Carlo Crivelli, 1480

Virgin and Child with Saints and Donor

Carlo Crivelli, 1490

Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaikh to Kings

Bichitr, 1615-1618

Portrait of Raja Bikramajit

Bichitr, 1620

Portrait of the Elephant 'Alam Guman

Bichitr, 1640

Nasta'liq Calligraphy

Bichitr, 1640

Shah-Jahan receives his three eldest sons and Asaf Khan during his accession ceremonies

Bichitr, 1630-1657

Emperor Guan

1700

Raja Balwant Singh Revering Krishna and Radha

The Family of Nainsukh, 1745-1750

Operating on Guanyu's Arm

Katsushika Ōi, 1850

Heroine Rushing to Her Lover (Abhisarika Nayika)

The Family of Nainsukh, 1870

The Peacock Room

James McNeill Whistler, 1877

Judith and the Head of Holofernes

Gustav Klimt, 1901

Goldfish

Gustav Klimt, 1901-1902

Portrait of Emilie Flöge

Gustav Klimt, 1902

Portrait of Fritza Riedler

Gustav Klimt, 1906

Water Snakes 1

Gustav Klimt, 1904-1907

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

Gustav Klimt, 1907

The Kiss

Gustav Klimt, 1907-1908

Hope 2

Gustav Klimt, 1907-1908

Danaë

Gustav Klimt, 1907-1908

Altarpiece No. 1 Group X

Hilma af Klint, 1915

More Art Mediums

Ink

From the caves to the desktop

Etching

Marble

The stone that glows like human skin

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