Kampos the icon’s background (literally translated as field, or valley n Greek), is the technical term (in the same language) for the background of a byzantine icon.
We are acquainted with images of Saints floating in a timeless, golden background. Gold might represent the saint’s splendor and enlightment. It also may signify the timeless, and “spaceless’ character of the icon, another dimension in which the Saint or the divine figure is transferred to and is calling us in.
From a technical point of view, gold is almost treated as black, and allows the artist to deal freely with the colors in figures and/or details.
In general there are various ways to cover the background of a byzantine icon ,so to summon things up, these are:
- A) plain color: Dark Blue like fresco, red (otherworldly like some Russian icons) fleshy greenish or whatever suits the artist
- B) 22k gold or
- C) an imitation of gold , made of copper and gold applied with gilding technique.
The options B and C have no difference in symbolism. They differ in price and behavior through time. While 22k looks identical as time passes. On the other hand, copper becomes stained and brown through time in an uneven way. We call this effect “antique patina” and sometimes we pursue it by applying an additional dye exactly the one you see in the posts picture.