Mosaic compositions decorate the chancel and the central cupola of St. Sophia Cathedral.
They represent the main personages in the christian religion and are arranged strictly according to "heavens hierarchy".
Mosaic is made of small pieces of smalt (tessera): from 2 cu mm to 1,6 cu cm large.
Smalt is a combination of melt glass and paint got from salts and oxides of different metals;
grinded and divided into small pieces of different form.
The difficulty of mosaic mural art is that it must be done on a big height, directly on the wall.
All the mosaics of Sophia of Kyiv are made on a shining golden background:
golden smalt is a smalt of any color covered with a thin leaf gold fixed with glass.
The palette of mosaics counts 177 different hues and tints.
(ōrāns (Lat.) - "one who is praying")
Situated in the concha of St. Sophia cathedral,
Mother of God Orans is the highlight of the mosaic ensemble.
Deep blue color of Orans' robe harmonizes with golden folds on the mantle.
The height of composition is 5.5 m.
260 sq m of mosaics are preserved from 640 sq m that existed in 11th century.
The missing parts of compositions were filled in with oil painting in 19th century.