Applying Gold Assist in Theology of Art

by Hilda Kleiman

The sketchbook exercises for Theology of Art at Mount Angel Seminary include a day dedicated to the role of light in iconography and working with gold assist.  The handout for the day includes Scripture passages which refer to the light of God:
Exodus 34: 29-30; 33-35
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tables of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.  And when Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone and they were afraid to come near him . . . And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses when in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone; and Moses would put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
Revelation 21:23-24
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory to it, and its gates shall never be shut by day – and their shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.
Our tools for the day include sheets of gold leaf, brushes for applying the size and removing the excess gold leaf after it is applied, and scissors for cutting the gold leaf into a size close to area to which it is applied:


 The students first drew in their sketchbooks two stars from the garments of the Mother of God or two other sections of gold assist, as illustrated in various prototypes:


With their sketches completed, they tried their hand with the gold leaf: