February 12, 2013

Kiev-Mezhyhirya Earthenware Factory

This book is a compilation of articles about the famed Kiev-Mezhyhirya Earthenware Factory, which was part of the 10th-century Mezhyhirya Monastery. The factory was founded at the end of the 18th century and produced such quantities of faience that by the mid-19th century it was the largest industrial enterprise in Kiev. The first part of the book is dedicated to the history of the factory, and includes details and illustrations of the wide range of its products, both decorative pieces and more practical ones. The factory hallmarks (seals) are shown for the whole period from its inception until it ceased production in 1884. There are architectural drawings for the various factory buildings. This material is supplemented with essays of a more varied nature, on art and the worker (a sociological study on ways to instill love of art in workers and the role of applied art in the life of a worker), on the iconography of the Virgin Mary, and a chronicle of art with reflections on the impact of architecture on people’s knowledge of the history of different countries.

The Baptistery of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev

This book is about the baptistery of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. The name of the cathedral comes from the sixth-century Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) and means “Holy Wisdom,” rather than dedication to a particular saint. Designed as “the new Constantinople” to represent Eastern Christianity, Saint Sophia in Kiev was first constructed in the 11th century. The baptistery was built into the cloister a few years later and its walls still bear frescoes from the 11th–12th centuries. By the early 20th century, the baptistery was in a state of disrepair and restoration work carried out elsewhere in the cathedral had not yet begun. The crumbling of the walls and exposed surfaces provided scholars with an opportunity to study the construction techniques used in the cathedral. This book examines the baptistery structure and illustrates its dilapidated state at the time. The cathedral, together with the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery, is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Cultural and National Movement in Ukraine in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Mykhailo Hrushevs’kyi (1866–1934) was a professor of history and a leading political figure in Ukraine, who served as chairman of the Ukrainian Central Council at the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917. This work, published in 1912, is devoted to the national and cultural movement of Ukraine in the 16th and 17th centuries and the formation of a Ukrainian national consciousness. Much of the book deals with relations between Ukraine and Poland and their effect on the formation of a Ukrainian state. The author describes a decline of Ukrainian secular and Orthodox life in the 15th and 16th centuries, the contemporaneous rise of Polish culture, and the dissemination of Polish culture in Ukraine. Topics covered include the influence of the Reformation on Poland and Ukraine and the development of the educational and scientific institutions in Ukraine, such as the Ostrog Academy.

A Description of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

This book, published in 1826 at the press of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Monastery, is a comprehensive account of the monastery and its establishment. Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, also called the Monastery of the Kiev Caves (pechera means cave; lavra indicates a monastery of status), is a large complex founded in 1051 by a monk named Anthony in caves dug out of the hillside. The monastery soon became central to Christianity in Russia and to local cultural development, supporting writers, physicians, scientists, and artists. After a fire in 1718, most of the lavra ensemble was rebuilt in the baroque style. This work covers the foundation and early years of the lavra, the saints who lived in its caves, the vicissitudes over the centuries, cave churches, other churches and the cathedrals, monastic buildings, and its printing press, the first in Kiev. Other chapters give the text of the charters and detail the precious artifacts and decorations of the buildings and the various patrons and benefactors. The book also discusses the Patericon (Lives of the saints) and reputed miracles at the lavra and chronicles the abbots who presided over it and events that took place under their rule. Together with Kiev’s Saint Sophia Cathedral, the lavra is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Monuments of Ukrainian Art of the 18th Century

This booklet is by Nikolai Makarenko, a specialist in architecture, art history, and archaeology and later director of the Kiev Museum of Arts. He begins by reflecting on the beneficial effects of Cossack culture on southern Russia and its significant impact on Ukrainian culture. He praises 17th- and 18th-century style and describes Pokrovskaia Church as an example of beautiful and pure architecture. The church was built in 1764 by Pyotr Kalishevski in Romny, Poltavskaia Province, and later moved to the city of Poltava. A new church was built in Romny, which the author finds unappealing and distasteful. The old church had a simple and pure design, and its beautiful cupolas could be seen from afar. A plan and description of the church are provided, and the booklet is illustrated with drawings of its artifacts and photographs of the church. Makarenko describes some details of the church interior, including wooden sculptures of Zachariah and John the Baptist.

Peresopnytsia Gospel, a Monument of the 16th Century Renaissance Art from South Russia

This work is devoted to one of the most important and beautifully decorated East Slavic manuscripts, the Peresopnytsia Gospel created in the mid-16th century, partly at the Monastery of the Mother of God in Peresopnytsia, Volyn, and partly at the Monastery of the Holy Trinity near L’viv, both in present-day Ukraine. The present book, by Alexander Gruzinskii, covers the history of the gospel, its ornamentation, and graphics. The first part focuses on the origin of the Peresopnytsia manuscript, which was rediscovered in 1830s by Slavist scholar Osip Bodjanskij. The second section concentrates on its decorative elements, the frames, monograms, and curls, which show both Renaissance influence and that of the Ukrainian icon-painting tradition. The third part is on the text of the Gospel book, which is inscribed in the Glagolitic script invented in the ninth century by Saints Cyril and Methodius, in order to translate the Bible and other religious works into Old Church Slavonic. The form in the manuscript is the later Church Slavonic used from the 14th century. This work contains illustrated tables, including pages from the Peresopnytsia Gospel.