Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Art of the Divine

An exhibition of Romanian icons on glass by artist Teodora Roşca at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin, Tuesday 26 March until 7 April 2013

The Story of the Icon on Glass
In the last three centuries the icon on glass painted in Romania, in the region of Transylvania, has been visible in the European cultural landscape for the beauty of the genuine folklore themes that it depicts. Its story begins in Nicula village, where in 1699 a wooden icon of the Virgin Mary, freshly painted by a priest from the bordering village, wept. Since then the miracle-working icon of Virgin Mary, now carefully preserved in the orthodox monastery raised there, draws great annual pilgrimages during the religious feast called "Sântămăria" ["Saint Mary"]. The first pilgrims were anxious to obtain an image of the miraculous Madonna to take home. In this way the great spread of the painting of icons on glass in Transylvania began. These icons on glass reflect a particular thinking of the Transylvanian Romanian peasant, living in an intercultural space. They are also an expression of the interference of Eastern religious thought with Western folk iconography, as the icon on glass, at that time (eighteenth century), was already a tradition in Central Europe. Hence, from Nicula village, gradually, the road to the South of the Transylvanian icon – to the centers of Şcheii Braşov, Sebeş Valley, Maierii of Alba Iulia, Mărginimea Sibiului or the region of Făgăraş Mountains – encounters its Eastern mysticism and dogma. In this respect, the fragile glass material is adopted for large iconographic achievements, such as Doomsday (one version coming even from the Saint Mount of Athos) or compositions with multiple scenes.

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