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Contemporary Ukrainian icon painting



Contemporary Ukrainian icon painting

On 17 April, the exposition hall of the Transcarpathian Museum of Folk Architecture and Life was filled with the best works of teachers and students of the only in Ukraine department of sacral art of the Lviv National Academy of Arts.

The organizers of the exhibition, dedicated to Easter holidays, became the charity fund “Art Commonwealth “Today”, the Department of the sacred art of the Lviv National Academy of Arts and the Serednie Deanery of the Mukachevo Diocese of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Honoured Worker of Arts of Ukraine, People's Artist of Ukraine, Professor, and Head of the Department of Sacred Art of the Lviv National Academy of Arts, Roman Vasylyk, presented visitors with the vernissage, what is represented by contemporary Ukrainian icon painting. Faith and spirituality professed all his family. The elder brother was the bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Pavlo Vasylyk, who at the time of the prohibition of the church did not renounce her, and for his underground activity, the bishop of the “catacomb church” has repeatedly been in jail. Known icon painter and teacher Roman Vasyliuk, by the way, is a graduate of the Uzhhorod School of Applied Arts (1968). Aware of the need to revive and popularize Ukrainian icon painting, 25 years ago he founded a unique department of sacral art in Lviv.

The exhibition is formed mainly from student's works of different courses – this is a small part of the mobile exhibition, which has already visited many cities of Ukraine and visited Uzhhorod for the first time. There are works made in the technique of egg tempera on wood, as well as in a technique that is more than two thousand years old – encaustic painting, where the pigment interacts with the connecting component – wax, which makes the image everlasting. Here one can see the icons, executed both with the observance of the classical canons and in the author's interpretations. Roman Vasylyk with the teachers of the department encourages icon-painting students to discover their own artistic language and original stylistics: “People often ask what the canon is and what is the place of the canon in the present. We always aim students to create works for the future for future generations, and it should be understood that this language will differ from the language of our ancestors. It is important that the work be done professionally and with soul. ”

The main directions of the educational and creative activity of the department are the achievements of the sacred art of the Princely Era, the Halychyna School of icon painting of the ХІV-ХVІ centuries, as well as the achievements of Ukrainian artists of the first half of the ХХ century. Students of the Department of Sacred Art are widely involved in the decoration of churches, and most of the thesis is created directly at the sites – these are paintings, mosaics, sgraffito, and stained glass.

Doctor of Arts, Associate Professor, and Head of the Department of Decorative Arts and Applied Arts of the Transcarpathian Academy of Arts, Mykhailo Pryimiyh expressed his thoughts on contemporary sacred art: “Today, the icon is interpreted differently, arguing that this is a reflection. But it is also a phenomenon, because the icon has always been drawn to meet with eyes, and if you look at the icon, the first thing you see is the eyes. The icon has always worked in this way, communicating with the person who stayed with it alone and at the same time did not feel lonely.” The art historian is convinced that imagery should be present in sacred art since there is no conversation without an image.

Representatives of neighbouring countries diplomatic missions also spoke at the opening ceremony of the exhibition: Consul of the Consulate General of the Hungarian Republic in Uzhhorod Bodnar Zsolt and Consul of the Consulate General of the Slovak Republic in Uzhhorod Yanka Dvoretska.

The exhibition will last until 12 May 2019.

Text: Liudmyla Kozlovska
Photo: Nataliia Pavlyk
© Art & Culture Foundation Brovdi Art