February 12, 2013

Carpathian Ruthenia

This album, probably published in about 1920, contains 20 photographs of scenes in Carpathian Ruthenia, a mountainous region, most of which was part of the Austria-Hungary before World War I, but which became part of the new Czechoslovak state in 1919. Today the largest portion of it forms Zakarpattia Oblast in western Ukraine, with smaller parts in Slovakia and Poland. The photographs depict the wooden churches that were central to the practice of Uniate Christianity (combining Roman Catholicism with the Eastern Rite), to which most Ruthenians converted from Eastern Orthodoxy in the mid-17th century. The sepia-toned pictures in the album also show village scenes, peasants in folk costume, locally-made pottery, and landscapes from the region. The captions are in Russian and Czech. The date and place of publication are not given.

Portraits of N. V. Gogol: 1809–1909

This collection of portraits of Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809–52) was published under the auspices of the Society of Lovers of Russian Literature for the centenary of the birth of Gogolʹ, a Ukrainian-born Russian playwright, novelist, and writer of short stories. The book is divided into two parts: an annotated list of the known portraits of the writer on pages 3–15, followed by reproductions of each portrait. The portraits trace Gogol’s life in chronological order, from 1827 before he was well known, until his death in Moscow in 1852, including a period of his life when he lived in Rome. In addition, the book contains images of the mask of his face made after his death and drawings of Gogol on his deathbed. The goal of this publication was to compile portraits of Gogol made during his lifetime and confirmed as authentic by documents. Each portrait has an annotation. While most of the images are naturalistic pictures of Gogol alone, there are also group portraits, allegorical scenes, and a satirical cartoon.

Guide to Kiev and Its Environs, Including an Address Section, Map and Phototype Views of Kiev

This 1890 guidebook provides comprehensive information for visitors to Kiev. It includes a history of the city and details of places of interest, such as Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the cathedrals and other churches, historical monuments, public gardens and wooded areas, public and administrative buildings, and bridges over the Dnieper River. Included is useful information for travelers, such as timetables for trains, steamships, and other passenger transport and a directory for hotels, restaurants, doctors, banks, stores, baths, libraries, clubs, and city and church authorities. The guide anticipates by 24 years Baedeker’s guide to Russia and is much more detailed. Also included are maps showing key attractions and local streets. The guide was published at the time when Kiev was becoming a significant industrial center, which is reflected in the directory and advertising section. Pages of advertisements are devoted to various agricultural machines, equipment for steam and water mills, pipes, steel for building railroads and bridges, steam engines and boilers, and other industrial products. More personal items on offer include fabrics, bicycles, hats, wine, fruit trees, furniture, and teas.

Compilation of Images of Ancient Objects from Private Collections in Kiev

This collection of images was put together by the Kiev amateur archaeologist Nikolaj Leopardov and numismatist Nikolaj Černev, who also collaborated in writing the introduction and explanatory texts. The images of crosses, icons, and other religious items and brief descriptions of them are included in Part I of the book. Part II contains the images of objects from the Bronze Age, mostly axes and knives, and Jewish Cabalistic amulets and coins. Part III contains the images and description of some of the thousands of medieval lead commercial seals from Drohiczyn, in present-day Poland, which Leopardov believed were used to seal goods transported from Byzantium. Drohiczyn was located on a major commercial trade route between Poland and Ukraine and was where Daniel I of Galicia was crowned in 1253 as the first king of Rus’. The text also relates the story of the Apostle Andrew, who is reputed to have come to the Dnieper River region in the first century, where he blessed the Kiev Hills and prophesied that a great city (Kiev) would be founded there.

Saint Vladimir’s Cathedral, Kiev

Saint Vladimir’s Cathedral in Kiev was constructed in 1862–96 to mark the 900th anniversary of the conversion to Christianity of Kievan Rus by Prince Vladimir (or Volodymyr) Sviatoslavich, later known as Saint Vladimir the Great (circa 956–1015). A note from the publisher of this book states that publications describing Saint Vladimir’s Cathedral had mostly received rapturous reviews from readers, but that some readers were critical of the cathedral’s design and decorations. The purpose of this book, according to the note, was to provide readers with many illustrations of the cathedral, which would allow them to make their own judgment about the cathedral’s artistic merits. The design of the book, printed on manila paper with intricate rubrication of chapter openings, section headings, and initials, imitates the manuscripts of the 11th century in the spirit of Vladimir. The book describes Kiev in the 1850s, the preliminary work on the cathedral, its Russian Byzantine-style architecture, and the construction. Part II is about the frescoes and mosaics of the interior and the artists who created them, including Viktor Vasnecov, Mikhail Nesterov, and Pavel Svedomskij. Part III is on the décor of the cathedral, its marble, sculptures, bronze and enamel work, and treasures, and the cost of the cathedral.

Ukrainian Culture: A Short History of the Cultural Life of the Ukrainian People

In the summer of 1918, Ivan Ogienko (1882–1972), a Ukrainian scientist and political, public, and ecclesiastical figure, became a founder and the first president of Kam'ianets'-Podil's'kyi state university (subsequently renamed after him). He later gave a course of lectures on Ukrainian culture at the university, on which this book is based. Part I concerns the history of the culture until the 17th century. It describes the territory of Ukraine, along with song, epic (Cossack) poems and other major literary works, the language, and architecture. Also discussed are Ukrainian law and its spread to Russia and developments in the church, science, philosophy and education. Part II describes the influence of Ukrainian culture on Russia. Part III is devoted to developments in literature, science, and democracy in the 18th and 19th centuries. Part IV describes the Ukrainian independence struggle, and the preservation of a national literary scene, the role of the church, and language. The book contains examples of the culture of ancient Ukraine and is complemented with thematic illustrations and examples of the old Moscow cursive script. Ivan Ogienko filled various high church posts in Ukraine and Poland and is best known today as Metropolitan Ilarion, primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Winnipeg and All Canada.