“Why are you in the temple a cow painted?” – as parishioners understand the iconography

Rostislav Motpan – artist-painter, head of the icon-painting workshop “assist”, which, in particular, developed the iconography of the icon depicting the appearance of the virgin in Iosafatovoj valley. We have been planning the conversation with Rostislav – on how to develop a modern icon, how to write new martyrs and form the rank and file members. But in the end the reason for the conversation was the trouble – a fire destroyed a house Rostislav on the first floor of his family lived, the second was a workshop and a painting school for children…

Rostislav Motpan. Photo: pam at Blajennoi Fund of Metropolitan Volodymyr / Facebook

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Mom took him to be baptized, so I was not sick

Rostislav, in the fire many works have been lost?

– My not much, mainly because I write at once to the temples. But the wife, Olga Kravtsova-Motpan, which is engaged in secular painting, she has her own particular interesting style – very much, she was preparing an exhibition for Christmas. Almost all destroyed.

– Why did this happen to you – ask these questions to God?

– I ask, of course. Friend the abbess advised: “You just pray and get your mind that all the will of God.” The advice seems simple, but true, because our answers will still be wrong. Trying to accept and get used to.

Remember when I first saw the icon? In Soviet times, often the first acquaintance happened in the Museum.

– I come from an ordinary Soviet family, mom – doctor, member of the party, so the house no talking about faith and there are no icons in the principle was not. But for the first time the icon was seen in five years, conservatives. Mom went to the same woman, talked to her about something dull to me, and for hours I was ready to watch in a strange way then, red with gold, around which was burning in the lights of the lamps.

Later, when I studied in Odessa at the Institute, I even tried to copy from paper icons, which then appeared in many.

But the icons I did not particularly understand. It seemed to me that this is just the art of copying, and I wanted to work creatively.

This period coincided with the collapse of the Union, when the longing for the spiritual side of life grabbed for various religions and sects.

First, a friend invited me to the Baptist, I went to him for a while, and then a familiar artist (she is currently working on the restoration of icons) persuaded me to go to Holy Dormition monastery. And how come, like a moment of clarity. I had a feeling that I was back home. Wondered what I and the Baptists went, after all, baptized in the Orthodox Church? And the same day came to confession to chiarimenti ion (Ignatenko), and he immediately started me to direct that I, as an artist, must serve the glory of God.

Rostislav Motpan

– So you were baptized as a child? Baptized mother is a doctor, member of the party?

Yeah, when I was 12, mom took me to be baptized. In Vinnytsia churches were not, in the building of the Cathedral housed the gym, and mom took me straight to the apartment to an old priest. “You’re sick, so we christened you,” explained my mother then.

When seriously began to study the iconography, how did you learn what samples focused?

– We then do not understand anything, do not really know how boards cook. He studied at the Odessa painters – Vladimir Rudakov Alexander Rudy. We have each other studied. Looking for book bazaars pre-revolutionary books, for example, Kondakov. A great help was that then a lot of old icons was given for restoration, and sometimes for working some icons kept for samples. Looking for samples in General everywhere, I have still preserved a collection of various clippings from magazines, the same “Spark”.

Photo: pravlife.org

My first meaningful icon of the Vernicle, I wrote it with reproductions of the album Museum of Pereslavl-Zalessky.

Now, when you remember your first icon, a strong desire to pick them up from the temples and rewrite – no theological understanding of what the icon I had.

Askold with icons removed

Today, it is believed that painters began 30 years ago to replicate the old models and the copying is stopped and there is nothing new, there is no breakthrough.

The Cathedral of saints of the Kiev Theological Academy. The icon of the Nativity of the virgin (academic) of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

– When we started in our region as the samples were mainly old believers icons – those writing workshops for a few people. There is in fact authorship as such is lost and the main focus was on the formal mastery. Of course, icons of the ancient more we not seen. Then there were a lot of albums Greek, ancient Russian icons.

We can say that modern iconographic tradition has gone, in something similar to the path of the old icon – a reinterpretation of the Byzantine tradition. Creating something new is difficult, and in ancient times, a lot of painters copied.

To create such images as Theophanes the Greek, Andrei Rublev, the monk, you have to be very strong painter. And here is the big impact has it spiritual life, and we rethink all external forms, ranging from early Christian art almost to the nikonian period, and it is now necessary not to look for something, to change form, namely, to move in depth.

Had to write the images of the martyrs? What was the difficulty?

Several times we wrote the images of the martyrs. Our workshop and wrote the icon of the Kiev theological Academy dedicated to the 400th anniversary, in my opinion, which is the Church of the Nativity in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra – the Cathedral of all saints, which was connected with the Kiev theological Academy and Seminary. There are also a lot of martyrs.

The problem was that some of the saints are not even preserved clear images, had to raise a bunch of material, look up to the verbal descriptions.

Sometimes you see a photo of the new Martyr, and it is much more expressive and deeper than, say, his image on the icon.

So we need to all learn to the depth of the icon.

The icon was painted to glorify the Holy

– When developing a new iconography, together with the Bishop?

– Of course, only with the blessing. My first experience like this. In the twenties of the last century in Iosafatovoj valley (near the village of Golinelli Vinnytsia region, Ukraine) was the phenomenon of the Mother of God the shepherd to Jacob and the girl Christine. When they told about what they had seen fellow villagers, they soon made the place of discovery a place of reverence. The authorities didn’t like it all, somehow involved in this, tried installed them crosses cut.

Procession with the icon of the apparitions of the blessed virgin Mary in Iosafatovoj valley

When this event was canonized by the Church, I decided to write an icon. We talked with a man whose family lived a nun, when survivors of these events. He heard from childhood, their stories, gave us a lot of detail. We have developed a pattern and went with him to Bishop Macarius (Svistun) – educated man who wrote a theological work about the “Trinity” of Andrei Rublev and listened to his comments about how you want to portray. Then were written the icon itself.

So wrote the Vinnytsia Cathedral of saints or for saints Cathedral of the Kiev theological Academy and Seminary. Agree on everything, down to the inscriptions.

When we finished, the icon of All saints in the land of the Kievan saints, first portrayed there Askold. Before the revolution, was a very active group of the priesthood, who wanted worship of Askold in Kiev on his grave was erected the Church of St. Nicholas. But since he is still not canonized, his picture was removed.

“Why did you give us a cow painted”

– You understand that the icon is real creativity?

– Of course! There is no creativity, if you just external form of rubbings. But this happens if you just copy a landscape from a photograph or alter just for the sake of something to change, without passing it through itself.

When you start to study the icon, its language becomes your family, their own expressiveness and creativity, finding a formal means that would lead to maximum expression of the search for composition, color, plasticity.

– What if a priest, the rector does not understand the icons?

Unfortunately, there is a problem when priests do not understand the icons, asking to paint “something”, not knowing in principle what they want.

We have to talk, to tell. Must teach iconography, history of Church art in seminaries. We have statistics courses for priests, I taught. And I saw people differently started to look at painting churches. For example, one priest, listening to lectures, I decided to paint the temple in the Baroque style, spread we, and traditional. Although, as the temple of agriculture, he was very worried that people will not accept his paintings, grandmothers do not like it… But in the end liked it.

Holy cross Church in Vinnytsia

“Grandmothers don’t like it” is how a serious argument?

– Once I had a case with one of the first churches that I painted, the temple of the new martyrs. The temple is quite small, on Lukyanovka cemetery in Kiev, where they were shot. Because of the space in the dome it would be difficult to write traditional image of Christ Pantokrator. Decided to portray the “Chi ro”, as the Abbot suggested: “Once a Savior, we symbolically depicted, let’s also draw all the evangelists.” Let me remind you that the gospel of Matthew symbolizes the angel, Mark – lion, Luke – Taurus, St. John – eagle. We took as a basis the famous Rublev’s image of the icon “Christ in Majesty”…

One morning going to work, near the temple of the crowd, I was not allowed: “We will not let you, you give us a cow painted cow we pray we will not.” Just a real riot.

However, soon one woman ran to a nearby temple and watched the shoulder of the evangelists – the same animals. Then people doubts have arisen what may be nothing wrong?

The priest comes and says: “If you are uneducated and don’t want to read and know, or look for another Church, or form”. Showed the icon “Christ in Majesty”, where the corners are symbolic images of the evangelists explained to them.

So there is a question of education.

The Church of St. Sviatoslav. Zaporizhia

Bunnies in the school of icon painting

– In the burnt house was a school for the children. You taught them to paint icons?

– Yes, I brought the old idea to work with children literally from the age of seven. I showed them different iconography, different icons, down to the people.

Several of my students have become good painters, but such a little while doing a lot of children.

Exhibition of icon painting school in Kyiv. Photo: pam at Blajennoi Fund of Metropolitan Volodymyr / Facebook

As young children engage in the writing of icons? For them that Bunny to draw the image of the Holy…

We first drew a Bunny. Sometimes there was a lack of understanding from adults. People brought children in the icon-painting school and waited for what I was immediately seven years will of Christ the Savior to draw. We first painted bunnies, came up with the tale of the Bunny as he walks through the woods and so on.

Parents explained: “Your child must first master the material, learn to work with paints, learn to discover the world of imagery”. Then, gradually, introducing iconographic elements. For example, for the feast of Christmas we draw a composition on this subject (and not the icon of the Nativity). Moreover, it is not that “here is an icon, to copy”. We display icons, and the child can take some elements, can do on its own.

One boy took a classic Christmas song, only for the Magi portrayed more people, and in the corner another man stands with a box – funds for the temple collects.

We try not to focus only on the colors, trying other materials, the same smalt, for example.

Photo: pam at Blajennoi Fund of Metropolitan Volodymyr / Facebook

Whether the painters of the classic school of painting?

– View virtually all of today’s strong painters (for example, Lavdanskiy, falcons) had a good artistic secular education. I keep talking about it to our icon-painting schools: are you doing the masters who know how to work with the designer – you give them the individual elements, they are assembling the model. They learn to think gradually down the hill, separately, separately palatucci, separately faces. And they can’t go further than just copy some icon. If you give them the wall, they are lost. Because I don’t know how to place the figure in space, I don’t know plastic is bad feel to the song, used it just to copy.

Painter, in addition to the mandatory deep knowledge of the history of iconography, should know the history of the arts in General, at least understand what was happening in art processes, the Byzantines were very well developed in this regard.

– As for the Church situation on the Ukrainian land, as it is reflected in the work of painters?

Is a very difficult process. I think that many priests will now stop work on the decoration of churches and to see how it will unfold situation. People don’t understand where and what it will bring. They are determined to defend their point of view and their temples, we are all United around Metropolitan Onufry, and mercy of God, that he is now head of the Ukrainian Church, because it’s really a spiritual person.

Painting of the Nativity of the blessed virgin. Kyiv, 2014

As for the townsfolk, many people just do not understand what is happening. An example of how our region refers to the Church’s problems. One of my friends said, “I go To mass at the Ukrainian Church, and the Liturgy in Russian”. Long could not understand what she meant, it turned out that in the evening she goes to the dissenters, and in the morning – to the old believers. Bright picture illustrating how people understand these processes.

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