Nilda Madriaga Painter of Religious Icons

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Biography and works of Nilda Madriaga
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Nilda Madariaga Osorio was born in Santiago (Chile) in 1967 in a family of three children.

While she was studying Chemicals, she has been assisting an architect, which made her discover an artistic vocation.


She wanted to teach art and at the same time took an interest in the painting at tempera, a concoction of pigments, yolk, and wine, trying so to escape from the contact with the toxic solvents which required for other paints.

When she became aware that this technique was associated with religious images, she started to investigate about icons and decided to prepare a thesis on the subject, for which she spent five years of studies.

During other five years, she has been living in a house of the Bellavista district of Santiago, where she had her icon workshop, near a forest park.

She never spent less than two months in an icon.
In fact, only the preparation of the small woodcuts of Chilean beech (Nothofagus alpina), walnut tree, lime tree takes more than twenty days.
Once the woodcut corners rounded off, a linen or cotton canvas is fixed on the wood, to which a daily covering of rabbit glue is added with a paintbrush during twenty four days.


Afterwards other thicker covers come, applied with a spatula and using a smoothing process to flatten perfectly the surface, polishing it moreover with an agate to get more brilliant.

Any trip in this process involves that every thing is to be restarted from scratch.
As Nilda says : " It is the reason why, you have to do it with love and patience. You cannot afford to hurry. A very small error, such as a change in the temperature of the concoction may crack the wood and damage it".

Nilda is painting saints, steps of Jesus Christ's life and other religious themes, with a technique consisting in laying down a drop of paint and dragging it along without moving back and without contact between the paintbrush and the plank.
This, successively up to reaching about fifty covers of paint, starting by dark shades until to arrive to the light, combining tones in order to avoid flatness.


Each image follows the tradition of prototypes developed at the beginning of the Christian art and flaunts a great symbolic load, following rules established by ancient religious councils.

Since 2007, Nilda Madariaga is living in France for studying frescos and French.

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