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Painted to be instruments for prayer, Russian and Greek icons are windows to the outer world, testifying about the teaching of Eastern Christianity, also known as Orthodoxy. Explore the enigmatic language pictorially embedded in these religious icon collections with a local art historian.
This conversation will explain the perplexing language of this ancient but still living form of religious art – illustrated with the examples from the Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow) and Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), which have the foremost icon collections in Russia,
According to Fyodor Dostoevsky, “beauty will save the world”. In fact, the art of healing beauty in the form of icons has existed in the Orthodox world since antiquity. Even today, in the age of high technology, these painted panels from the old churches produce surprisingly powerful effects on anyone approaching them, be it religious or secular. What is the secret of the clarity and peacefulness of Orthodox icons? What is their hidden message?
This seminar examines various aspects of the production of icons in the world of Eastern Christianity. At first, scholars had considered these dim paintings (some hardly readable due to layers of dark oil-varnish) to be primitive and dull. After careful restoration and study, it became clear that icon-painters of the past had sophisticated artistic language with the symbolic meaning of color and form, rules of “reverted perspective”, and their own interpretations of Biblical stories.
We will carefully examine highlights of the best collection of icons both in Moscow and St Petersburg, including 15th century St Trinity of the Old Testament by Andrei Rublev, an immortal symbol of the power of art. We will also see how profound spiritual ideas of icon painters have far-reaching influence on Soviet painters (Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin), and even – on the Russian handicraft of lacquer boxes.
Led by an art historian Vladimir Ivanov from St Petersburg, this interactive seminar will open the door into the fascinating art of Orthodox icons. Participants will come away with increased knowledge of Russian arts and spiritual traditions.