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18 May 2016

Belarusian icons on show in Vatican

An exhibition “Icon Painting in Belarus in the 17th-21st centuries” in a museum of the VaticanMINSK, 18 May (BelTA) - An exhibition “Icon Painting in Belarus in the 17th-21st centuries” will open in a museum of the Vatican on 18 May, head of the Ancient Belarusian Art Department at Belarus’ National Art Museum Yelena Karpenko told BelTA.

In her words, the exhibition will feature 33 icons that will familiarize Italian specialists and numerous tourists from around the world with unique works of the Belarusian sacral culture. The Belarusian icons will go on show in a museum of the Vatican for the first time, in close vicinity to the famous Sistine Chapel.

According to Yelena Karpenko, the exhibition of Belarusian icons will mark an important event in the Roman Catholic world - The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, titled as Merciful Like the Father, which is running from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016.

The last time the Belarusian icons were displayed in Italy was in the galleries of Milan and Trieste in 2004-2005. These expositions were very popular with Italians.

The Orthodox canonic tradition that came to the Belarusian land from Byzantium is the basis of the majority of national religious monuments. A close tie with the artistic world of the Kievan Rus, the countries of the Balkan Region were largely preserved in the icons of the 17th-18th centuries. Later, Belarusian icon painters mastered the advanced West-European styles, elaborate ornamentation, baroque and rococo symbols.

Belarusian painters enrich canonic plots with narrative elements. Images of national costumes, household items, urban and rural landscapes add genre features to the icons. Embossed metal settings, often gold and silver-plated, give adornment and decorative value to the Belarusian icons.

The exposition of the Belarusian icon painting of the 17th-21st centuries is a landmark event. These icons show the development of the Belarusian art in close cooperation with the Western and Eastern cultures.

The exhibition will also feature the works of contemporary Minsk icon painter Andrei Zharov. On display are his icons Sts. Cosmas and Damian, and the Assumption of the Virgin made in 2015.

The official opening ceremony on 18 May will be followed by a concert of the Orthodox Chorus of the All Saints parish in Minsk (senior priest Fyodor Povny).

The exhibition will stay open through 25 July.

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