Anna Makać exhibition "The Bible in illustrations"

Author: Anna Makać

Venue: Lviv, Virmentska st. 26

Date: 2016-10-15 - 2016-11-06


I got interested in the icon art as early as I was a student and got ready for the iconography because of my lessons in the technology of painting and gilding as well as my diploma paper in “The Restoration of the St George icon of the end of 18th - the beginning of 19th century.” At that time, I was trying to obtain art skills; theology has become interesting for me much later.

At first, as every beginner, I was making copies persuading myself that I would be also able to do that. Then, the iconography was not that much widespread as it is today. There were neither materials nor albums; among books, there were Russian ones available only. That is why I was making copies of Russian icons first. To add, there was no Internet to communicate with other iconographers. For a long time, I had believed that I was almost the only person in the world that was creating such works.

Only at the end of the 90-ies (the last century), I started to bring the albums with the icons of other schools, e. g., Ethiopian or Coptic, from Berlin. Nearly in 2011, I discovered the artists of the Lviv School and the iconography seminar in Novytsya for myself, in which I took part in 2013 for the first time. The program of Novytsya seminars is very close to me, especially, within regard to the creating of sacral art with the help of the contemporary means of expression.

On the one hand, this is the icon making according to the canon, which allows preserving my own style despite the certain established framework. On the other hand, these are creative works that are inspired by the icon and they remind it from the perspective of the technology. These are my own interpretations of the religious topics such as the saints, the Mother of God, the angels. I use recognizable motives in my creativity.


I am inspired by the art of the borderzones of the Orthodox world – the places, where the classic iconography schemes penetrate the folk art, in particular, of Georgia, Ethiopia, the Western Ukraine, and Romania or the religious folk art in general. Besides, I have been significantly influenced by the Roman sculpture as well as colonial religious art of Mexico and Peru. To put it metaphorically, I have found the artist soulmate in Adam Stalony-Dobrzański, the Orthodox stained-glass and polychromies creator who died in 1984. He had skillfully been combining classic iconographic canon with his own, contemporary at his times style. In addition, the deep poetry of illustrations is close to me.


The works, which I present at the exhibition in the Contemporary Sacred Art Gallery ICONART, have appeared slightly on the margins of the main direction of my creativity. They have appeared because of the call of my heart as house icons created for private cult that does not have to comply with the strict rules. The Knight cycle, where the saint equestrians are depicted, is a part of them. Every work is accompanied by the Latin inscriptions that bring us back to the tradition of votive images and indicate the miracles of the saints. Today, it is possible to say that they are read as comics. In the same time, it is something à la Biblia pauperum or the illustrated Bible for those people who could not read in Latin. The presented religious themes are depicted in simple and self-explanatory way.


Anna Makać