The exhibition includes over 60 works by the 12th to 19th centuries’ icon painters as well as contemporary artists. Techniques used to create these icons are astonishingly effective. Each artwork has its own story, plot, and origin. Some of them deserve to be included in the National Cultural Heritage List. The 19th century icons are of considerable interest as well, because the period saw a lot of schools and workshops to appear that produced ritual objects, mostly for sale. Buyers used them to decorate schools, hospitals, and barracks, transforming icon into a mass-produced good. The Marian cycle images were highly popular then.
As much as 280 compositions of this cycle have been identified to date. The Art and Charity Gallery’s artistic manager Elvira Shvets told us that the iconographic tradition saw an expansion of its composition space at the end of the 19th century, with icons being reinterpreted and some Catholic saints entering the Orthodox iconography.
“Icons of the 17th century are particularly valuable, as they were painted to order and most of them perished. They are very rare and mostly kept in private collections. This Saint Nicholas icon stands out due to its skillful execution, featuring a shallow depression, so-called ark, and fine, highly graphic Byzantine technique,” Shvets told us.