BALTIC ICON PAINTERS AND THEIR HERITAGE IN OLD BELIEVERS CHURCHES IN LATVIA (Vecticibnieku ikonu gleznieciba: Baltijas ikonu gleznotaji un vinu mantojums Latvijas vecticibnieku dievnamos)
Icon painting in Latvia is a not much explored theme in Latvian art history. Nevertheless, the heritage of Orthodox culture has a notable history in Latvia. Since the schism of Russian Orthodox Church in Russia in 1653 one can speak about the Orthodox culture systematically taking roots in Latvia. Old Believers' icon painting is a specific trend in icon painting featuring in Latvian churches as well. The particular character of Old Believers' icon painting is conditioned by the adherence to the ancient Russian traditions, maintaining the church dogmas and formal means. The most important church dogmas are as follows: the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, the 43rd paragraph 'On Icon Painting' of the Hundred Chapter Synod Code of 1551, treatises of the Protopop Avvakum (written in the 2nd part of the 17th century), the Pomorian Answers, the 5th part (compiled in 1723). The formal traits of Old Believers' icon paintings include: the denial of chiaroscuro, flattened images and prolonged proportions, non-realistic colouring, spatial solutions using inverted perspective, the successive method in thematic solutions, etc. The iconographic specificity of Old Believers: close adherence to the iconographic programme of the Orthodox Church; Jesus Christ, the Mother of God and St. Nicholas as the most popular images; two-finger sign of the cross typical of Old Believers and the Pomorian School; eight-knobbed cross, etc. One can speak about the Baltic school of icon painting since the late 19th-early 20th century, flourishing in the 1920s and 1930s. It is difficult to indicate the end of the school, as some activities went on during the Soviet occupation as well, even if icon painting was a kind of unwelcome enterprise.
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