On carved iconostases in the system of sacral culture by Galician Ukrainians during the XIX to the first half XX cc. Cover Image

Різьблені іконостаси в системі сакральної культури українців Галичини: ХІХ – перша половина ХХ століття
On carved iconostases in the system of sacral culture by Galician Ukrainians during the XIX to the first half XX cc.

Author(s): Roman Odrekhivskyj
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, Customs / Folklore, Visual Arts, Recent History (1900 till today), 19th Century
Published by: Національна академія керівних кадрів культури і мистецтв
Keywords: Interiors of churches; carved iconostases; sacral culture; traditional art; cultural dimension;

Summary/Abstract: Quite high level of national culture has been determined in the great measure by rather wide social attention to semi-forgotten deeply-rooted historical and cultural traditions. The interest in ancestors' spiritual knowledge and historical acquirements has been revived in Ukraine. Such are cultural and historical kinds of activities to which have belonged sacral carved creations and their meaning in Ukrainian people's spiritual religious life. Through sacral carving we especially are going to emphasize an extraordinary significance of carved iconostases in the sacral culture by Ukrainians of Galicia. There are, as for now, no separate fundamental work on the meaning of decorative carved Galician church iconostases and their place in the system of Ukrainian sacral culture of Galicia. This article has been aimed to present some results of complex study in iconostasis wood-carving of Galicia during the XIX and the first half XX cc. in the system of sacral culture by Ukrainians of the region. The trait of the work is author's attempt to use as primal evidences only materials got by him in the course of field inspections of church iconostases. Period of XIX and early XX cc. has presented very bright and interesting picture as for the developmental history of Galicia's sacral carving. Through the first decades of XIX c. in the sacral carving of Galicia one can discern the traits of Classicism. Since the middle of XIX c. the sacral carving of Galicia has gradually incorporated some features of Historicity and Neo-Styles, clearly exposed first of all by the artistry of so-called Second Rococo, that nevertheless with the course of time had become more modest in its usage of carvings. Side by side with Neo-Rococo in the series of Neo-Styled sacral carvings one can state the presence of Neo-Baroque, Neo-Gothic features etc. In Eclecticism, naturally, combinations of a certain style with other ones have appeared more often and explicitly. Thus, the series of examples has shown us, that in their operating with Historical styles, even in the riverbed of Historicity and Neo-Styles the artists of Galician sacral carvings tried to introduce elements of national and cultural identity by imitation or detailed reproduction of characteristic national styles as Ukrainian Baroque in their carvings or by introduction of polychrome covers, imitating for example, embroideries as well as by the use of motives derived out of medieval Ukrainian metal minting for wood-carvings. So, one can fix quite original means for discovering of Ukrainian idea in artistic sphere. Side by side with Historicity and Neo-Styles on the border of XIX and XX cc. in the sacral carving of Galicia the more the oftener had appeared creations the imaginative laying of which expressed rather noticeable connections with folk artistry. There are several names for this phenomenon in Art Studies, as e.g. Ruthenian style, Ukrainian style etc., although, it sees, in the case much more relevant term would be that of a trend. Among most characteristic signs of the trend are elements of folk carving, used in decor, specific silhouette of a products, dark-brown color of imitated oak wood and so forth. Combination of all mentioned signs in decoration of a certain creation had not been obligatory condition. To best Galician iconostases created with the use of ornamental and compositional structures borrowed from traditional folk art had appertained iconostasis established in interiors of Saint Trinity church at the town of Drohobych (now Lviv obl.) during 1907-1909. This three-storey-high iconostasis of dark-brown color has been decorated with technique of hemstitch, flat trihedral hollowed carving after motifs lent from Old Ruthenian art and folk creativity of Boikos and Hutsuls (Old Ruthenian interlacements, various kinds of rhombi, vegetable stems with trefoils etc.). Similarly to mentioned iconostases the creative work had exposed quite noticeable connection with Ukrainian decorative graphical art of early XX c. (especially with H. Narbut's artistry where plane-stylized vegetable motif was inscribed beyond the line of external silhouette into a triangle and so on). Drohobych Saint Trinitarian iconostasis truly belonged to monuments that had proven the most high perfection of decorative stylization in carving after folk-styled models and specimens. Harmonious unity of carved decor executed by craftsmen A.Sarabay and Holembyovsky with icons painted by artist M.Sosenko in the spirit of Ukrainian Secessionism had been achieved besides. The synthesis of architectonics, painting and carving in decor of Drohobych Saint Trinitarian iconostasis has moved this creation to the top of idealistic search in stylistic national direction of epoch. Such searches had moved the Ukrainian sacral art on the leading place in world cultural process of early XX c. In the church of Annunciation (1927, village of Hrebeniv, Skole region, Lviv obl.) iconostasis had been arranged as well by means of bearing constructions decorated with plate carving in the manner of Hutzul folk artistry with addition of polychromous ornamentations. The reason for wide spreading of Hutzul carved decor as most true exemplification of Ukrainian styling in iconostasis carving is the state of folk art on the edge of XIX and XX cc., when Hutzul church architecture had been popularized in the villages and towns of Galicia as own one and as expression of genuine folk style in architecture. It had been Hutzul plate carving that played one of determinative parts for lawful formation of imaginative systems in Ukrainian national style of Galicia. It had been ornamental and compositional schemes of traditional folk art that performed semiotic function of national identification in then-a-day sacral carving and then-a-day Ukrainian culture. This period might yet be considered as a time of Ukrainian people's strife for expression of own national and cultural identity. On the basis of analyzed creations of sacral carving have distinctly been shown main peculiarities in interaction of morality, philosophy, religion and art. In the perspective more thorough study is worth to be processed as for the meaning of Historical Neo-Styles adapted for carved iconostases in the system of sacral culture by Galician Ukrainians during the XIX and the first half XX cc. Besides, among other problems it is worth to consider the meaning of ornamental and compositional structures derived from traditional folk art and applied in iconostasis carving of Galician churches as well as the role of those structures in formation of national sacral cultural features by Ukrainians of Galicia.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 130-135
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Ukrainian