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Henry M. Robert

Museum of Volyn Icon comes to St. Sophia Cathedral

26 February, 2013 - 10:22
ONE OF THE MUSEUM ITEMS PRESENTED IN THE ALBUM IS THE ICON OF THE HOLY VIRGIN HODEGETRIA (17th C, THE VILLAGE OF SUKHODOLY, VOLODYMYR-VOLYNSKY RAION). IT IS A TRADITIONAL VOLHYNIAN ICON PAINTING IMAGE. ITS CHARACTERISTIC SHADES OF COLOR ARE PINK-OCHREOUS, EMERALD GREEN, AND CRIMSON. THE 17th-CENTURY PAINTING TECHNIQUE, WHICH USED TEMPERA PAINTS AND COLORED VARNISHES, ENHANCES THE EFECT OF VELVETINESS IN THE HOLY VIRGIN’S ATTIRE. THE ICON PAINTER VESTS THE IMAGES OF THE HOLY VIRGIN AND INFANT CHRIST WITH THE PRONOUNCED HUMAN FEATURES WHICH ARE EXPRESSED IN RESTRAINED SMILES AND THE FEMININITY OF THE HODEGETRIA / Illustration provided by the author

The National Sanctuary “Sophia of Kyiv” will host presentation of Museum of Volyn Icon album in the historic Metropolitan’s House on February 28. It is the first Ukrainian album to reflect the unique collection of Volyn icons that are among the best examples of Medieval Western art. The publication’s coverage includes the gem of the collection, the 11th-century miracle-working Our Lady of Chelm icon.

The institution called the Museum of Volyn Icon was established 20 years ago. Its director Tetiana Yelisieieva participated in the first expeditions of Academician Pavlo Zholtovsky in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when they were rescuing truly priceless monuments of sacred art from Volyn shrines which had been closed and delisted. Thanks to the expeditions’ efforts, the Volyn school of icon painting with its regional peculiarities has been preserved for future research. The museum collection’s first exhibits were the treasures found by Zholtovsky’s expeditions. Created in Volhynia, where Orthodoxy and Catholicism were in close contact, the icons absorbed international icon painting techniques and the best European technologies of the time. When walking through the museum halls now, one is amazed that such treasures once hung in ordinary rural churches in Volyn... If not for the museum’s efforts, they could have met a sad end. Presidents of many countries, metropolitans and patriarchs, ambassadors, pilgrims from around the world have visited the museum. It is, probably, the only museum in the world where religious processions of various jurisdictions come to adore the miracle-working Our Lady of Chelm.

The album was published in Kyiv by ADEF Ukraine Publishing House on order of the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, as part of its Ukrainian Book program.

The publication introduces the unique Volyn icons that make up the region’s precious spiritual heritage and are invaluable national heritage of the Ukrainian people, a source of pure joy and spiritual improvement. It may be the first publication of its kind to have named restorers, too, who give a new life to unique monuments of our culture. The Honored Culture Worker of Ukraine, Man of the Year 2009 according to The Day, Anatolii Kvasiuk brought back to life many such artworks, including the miracle-working Our Lady of Chelm. The book is luxuriously printed and contains scholarly and educational information about each exhibit it presents.

Staff members of the Museum of Volyn Icon and Volyn Regional Local History Museum have invited Larysa Ivshyna, The Day’s editor-in-chief, to be a guest of honor at the presentation, because this paper regularly features stories about the findings and achievements of Volyn museum workers.

By Natalia MALIMON, The Day, Lutsk
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