Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kyivan Cave Monastery Icon Painting Studio

Kyivan cave monastery icon painting studio was a main centre of Ukrainian icon painting for many centuries. Its founding at the end of the 11th century was connected with the painting (1083-9) of the Dormition Cathedral of the Kyivan Cave Monastery by Greek masters and the Kyivan artists Master Olimpii and Deacon Hryhorii. The studio developed a distinctive style that is evident in its frescoes, icons, and book illuminations. From the late 16th century, collections of prints by western and local artists and of student drawings were kept for educational purposes. The studio's finest masterpieces of the 18th century are the mural paintings of the Dormition Cathedral (1724-31) and the Trinity Church (1734-44) above the Main Gate of the Kyivan Cave Monastery, which were done by Ivan Maksymovych, T. Pavlovsky, Zakharii Holubovsky, and A. Halyk. Many noted icon painters and engravers were trained at the studio. Towards the end of the 18th century the studio gradually lost its importance in the development of Ukrainian art.
Unfortunately many wonderful icons were brutally destroyed in 1930s when Josef Stalin launched antireligious campaign. On attached photos you can see a view of Kyivan Cave Monastery and unique icon depicting Mother of God (12th-century, Kyiv) attributed to Master Olimpii.