"The Light in Darkness"

Author: Studio “The Heaven on the Earth”

Venue: 26 Virmenska Str., Lviv, Ukraine, 79008

Date: 2011-02-20 - 2011-04-08

The icons of the studio “The Heaven on the Earth” (Mykolaiv) in the offered exhibition are presented not in a usual exhibition or temple space (with lamps, candles), but seem to appear from darkness.

Aiming to attract viewers to the modern icon, Mykolaiv icon-painters resorted to untraditional interior design of the exposition hall. Instead of usual bright light visitors are welcomed to the scantily lit room and offered pocket flashlights to light up works presented at the exhibition. The twilight here will symbolize our earthly world. A man must make out here something that unites him with the light, to see the Celestial Image in the ray of light.


The idea centre of the exposition is the icon-tondo “Christ - the Angel of Great Counsel” – the author’s interpretation of the iconographic type of the image of Christ before His incarnation. Christ is represented with wings, in the circle of light.


The special place among the presented icons is occupied by the triptych «The Repentant Thief» - a sample of modern Ukrainian icon-painting. In this work icon-painters tried to combine the traditional iconography with the perception of the Holy Scriptures by a contemporary man. According to the apocrypha, the repentant thief is the first man who entered Paradise. His image incarnates the arduous path of a Christian on his way to eternity. Consequently a person, who pricks the thief’s body with a sword, should be interpreted as an image of the temptations of the modern world. And a tree in the background – a mention about the meeting of a man with God. It was under the oak of Mambre that Abraham hosted three angels. According to the teachings of the church fathers, this event can be interpreted as the apparition of the Holy Trinity.

Today the icon-painters see their task in making people understand the true meaning of the icon. The head of the studio father Sergiy Pavelko thinks that the icon nowadays is taken rather as  an occult decorative item of the interior or a fetish which is not  a spiritual issue. To feel what is the icon destined for we must do great spiritual work – turn to God.  Father Sergiy  says “The icon is sometimes thought to have nothing new. And to repeat the canons. In fact the canon doesn’t limit you but inspires to new search and new accomplishment in the name of God ”.


Lvivites would be interested to get acquainted with the achievements of south-eastern Ukrainian icon-painters who are developing their understanding of sacred art in the region, where traditions of icon-painting art have remained neglected for decades. To some extent Mykolaiv icon-painters face a difficult challenge – to restore the sacred art from the basics. This requires not only creation of high-quality samples, but also cherishing the taste and comprehension of this type of art.


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