Belarusian School of Icon Painting

The Candlemas Day
[Hramnitsy (Strechannie)]

sretenie.jpg (52513 bytes)

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Author unknown

Wooden board, egg tempera
149.5 x 94 x3 cm

The icon was described in 1920-ies in the Church of Dormition (built in 1890) in the village of Bascenacichy, Mscislau region, Mahilyow voblasc'. Before WWII the icon was in exposition of Belarusian State Museum (Object #8475). It has been transfered now to Main Minsk Cathedral of St. Symon and St. Alena, also known as Red Cathedral.

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The Main Misk Cathedral was built in 1908-1910 by a powerful landlord Edward Vajnilovich and his wife Olimpia, in the memory of their deceised children - Symon and Alena. It was buil according to the plan by architect T. Pejdarski, with some inputs from U. Marconi and G. Guy. It is part of the Independence Square ensemble in the center of Belarusian capital - Minsk. The icon was presented to Cathedral by the family of Belarusian nobility - Skirmunty.

The icon was restored by P.R. Zhurbej in 1982 ( the floor mainly needed restoration).

An art critic M.M. Shchekacihinm wrote in 1926 about tis icon: " It is outstanding in compositional freedom and realism, especially in facial expressions. The ornamental motiff on St. Simon clothes is very interesting".

Composition in the icon is based on the New Testament story [Luke 1; 22-39]. According to it on the 40-th day after birth of Christ Joseph and Mary took their child to Jerusalem Cathedral to baptise and made a religious offering - two pigeons. 360 y.o. St. Simon met them in the Cathedral. There was also St. Hannah the prophet, daughter of Fanuli, who had lived at the Cathedral for 84 years. The typical composition of icons, depictinmg the Candlemas Day is as following: Mary is on the right, giving child to Simon, Joseph is behind her. Joseph brings two pigeons. Simon God-acceptor and Hannah-the Prophet are shown on the left.

References used in page:

"Ikanapis Belarusi XV-XVIII stahoddziau"("Icon Painting of Belarus in XV-XVIII centuries"), Minsk - 1994, publishing house "Belarus",Ed.: N.F. Vysockaia.
ISBN 5-338-01183-2

"Arhitektura Belarusi. Encyklapedychny davednik" ("Architecture of Belarus. Short Encycopedia") Ed.: A.A. Voinau and others, Minsk - 1993, Publishing house "Belaruskaia Encyklapedyia, named after Piatrus' Brouka".
ISBN 5-85700-078-5.

"Katalickiia Hramy Na Belarusi. Encyklapedychny davednik" ("Roman Catholic Cathedrals in Belarus. Short Encycopedia") Ed.: A.M. Kulagin, Minsk - 2000, Publishing house "Belaruskaia Encyklapedyia, named after Piatrus' Brouka"
ISBN 985-11-0187-7.

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