Folk icons created in the 19th – early 20th centuries in the Dnieper River area, Western and Eastern Polesie in southern parts of Belarus have been presented at the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, BelTA has learned.
The exhibition Icon Painting of Belarusian Polesie was solemnly opened in the Old Vitebsk City Hall on 9 July. Representatives of municipal government agencies, the Vitebsk Eparchy of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, residents and guests of Vitebsk took part in the solemn opening ceremony.
The exhibition features 42 icons acquired by the Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Lifestyle in Gomel Oblast, Brest Oblast, and Mogilev Oblast during multiple expeditions over the course of the last 40 years.
“This exhibition is very important for preserving Belarus' cultural legacy, for understanding the development of Belarusian icon painting traditions,” said Archpriest Nikolai Prusakov, Chairman of the Vitebsk Eparchy Commission for Cooperation in Cultural Affairs and Protection of Monuments. Folk icons represent a special stratum of the ethnic culture. It is synthesis of Orthodox Christian icon painting, Western European sacral pictorial art, and techniques of grassroots decorative art. Belarusian folk icons were painted in accordance with general Christian canons, yet they convey emotions, feelings, and sympathy of the icon painter.
As a rule, folk icons were painted by amateurs (mostly artisans). These icons were used to embellish huts in rural areas. The icons matched people's tastes and often had prominent individual features.
“The widespread distribution of this kind of art and its peculiarity make it an inalienable part of traditional Belarusian culture, a reflection of the people's world view,” representatives of the Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Lifestyle noted.