Interview with the chief artist of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra: “Sometimes we tried too, it shows in Annotatation”

Now life has become much easier — there are programs in the computer that allow you to visualize everything, even the rare icons and frescoes, and in 1994 the artists who are hired by the superior of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra for the painting of the restored temples, the Arsenal was only a pencil, paper and paint the sketches.One of the problems of the past — images of icons was not enough, they had to find the icon shops, reproductions, libraries, old churches of Ukraine.

On the restoration of the Dormition Cathedral of the Lavra and other churches “Today,” said Kiev artist Vladislav Gorki, whom the monks called the chief iconographer of the monastery.


  • Interview with the chief iconographer of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra: “at First we even lived in the cell of the Lavra”

— Vladislav Viktorovich, noticed that the frescoes of the cathedrals of saints, most of the individuals are the same. Laura does not. Those with similar faces — the negligence of local artists?

— No, it’s not always the case! In iconography there are Canon. Than in the canonical icons of different images? Length or width of the beard, hair, young or old. The old canonical icons of the faces uniform that was not “ad-libbing” so the artists did not write “someone in that Garazd”. It turns out that the saints look screen. But the Laura — our first object of murals, because we tried very hard. Sometimes even too much, as evidenced by Annotatation. Five years today, no temple, no signs! The main task of the artist — to convey the image, integrity and truth.

— Usually the one who makes pleasing to God, is faced with temptation. Artists, too?

— This is a blessing! Before starting any business we are waiting for the blessing of the Lord. Labor is labor, but by the blessing of all and always resolved peacefully. Proven long-term practice!

— And what Church you painted after Annotateimage?

— Church Of All The Afflicted. Before the reconstruction it was a living body without any paintings. We performed a canonical Baroque style. There are less vicarova and detail than in Annotatation. After we painted the chapel, where always incessantly read the Psalter. Next — porch of St. John the theologian in the Dormition Cathedral.

The altar. The Cathedral of the assumption. Photo: V. Goretsky

— So you are not all of the Dormition Cathedral was painted?

— No, not all. Our main work in the assumption, the altar painting. This is a classic of Ukrainian Baroque. We restored the iconostasis in the archival photo, we spent two years. No less difficult was with the Refectory Church. After an explosion in 1941 it stood dilapidated. Dampness, frost, moisture — all of which impact negatively on oil painting. When it is dark and damp, the oil painting begins to darken. Because, I think, before painting the Refectory was lighter and, most likely, was the same shade as the painting the chamber with columns. Her perfectly painted a different team of artists, after the style of the dome and painting of the altar. We are in the Central part of the Church washed the dome of the Church set forest, washed away the soot, and then very carefully restored. It’s the same painting Izhakevich and Popov (famous artists of the late XIX — early XX century. — Ed.) modern masterpieces!

— We were told that one of the highlights of the Refectory in the dome all the archangels can be seen?

Is a classic building — the seven archangels, the mother of God and John the Baptist stand before the Lord. The restoration was to us, a rather negligent attitude and, unfortunately, spoiled this unique painting. Perhaps due to the fact that the dark paintings, they are clearly not trying to get close in tone and color. Yes, and the shedding was serious, because some places do not understand, what and where. Not to mention the fact that to paint the dome especially hard to quickly get back does not stand up.

— And how many painters are the hours? 8 hours like everybody else?

— An opinion: Yes, I will work to finish faster. Only temples of paint — do not paint the fences. Then you need to think what you’re doing! More than four hours this concentration, the brain begins to melt. Because we usually change the type of work. Lik to write eight hours will not work, you need to switch to something else, easy. Therefore, the painter runs at an average of 4-5 hours a day.

— Error icon-painters can be corrected?

Sure, but this is harder than writing from scratch. Each artist contributes his energy in what he writes. Is so difficult to fix that you just have all the painting to be removed and rewritten. Because doing so only if Bishop Paul asked. The Lord of the intuitively feels, where it is not so, and sees better than all of us combined. That’s what every time surprises and delights.

The Cathedral of the assumption. The restored chapel of St. John the Evangelist. Photo: V. Goretsky