Then Kievan Russia adopted Christianity in the 900s, the people were baptized and told to destroy their pagan idols. Holy pictures, or icons, were hung in lavish new churches. Goldor silver-painted backgrounds made the icons easier to see in dimly lighted interiors. Troops marching into battle also carried icons.
Despite their flat, two-dimensional style, icons conveyed both individuality and a sense of godliness. In fact, the unrealistic appearance of icons was intentional, to help convey a message to the viewers. This art was intended to describe religious figures and communicate ideas through simple, familiar images without distractions. In this icon from Kiev, we see Mary and Jesus.