Ukrainian Iconostasis: From a Functional Construction to an Architectural Frame Cover Image

Український іконостас: від функціональної конструкції до архітектурної рами
Ukrainian Iconostasis: From a Functional Construction to an Architectural Frame

Author(s): Svitlana Valeriyivna Olianina
Subject(s): Architecture, History of Church(es), Visual Arts, 16th Century, 17th Century, Eastern Orthodoxy, History of Art
Published by: Національна академія керівних кадрів культури і мистецтв
Keywords: Iconostasis; architectural frame; blind arcade; meaning;

Summary/Abstract: The purpose of the article is to determine the process of transformation of the medieval iconostasis with wall-to-wall horizontal beams as main structural/supporting elements to the new type – iconostasis as an architectural frame – which it becomes on the border of the 16–17th century. The research methodology is based on the iconological and comparative methods, which allow identifying the rules of construction, combinations, and relationships between the structural elements of the architectural frame of the XVII century Ukrainian iconostasis, to determine the ideological sources of the formation of such model of the iconostasis and disclose its meanings. The scientific novelty of the work is connected with the expansion of knowledge about the development of the Ukrainian iconostasis. Among the main sources that influenced the formation of the new image of the Ukrainian iconostasis were the Greek tradition of organizing sanctuary barriers and the Latin tradition of framing a religious image. Creating a new concept of the Ukrainian iconostasis at the junction of two traditions was a reaction to the social and political context of the period, which appeared in the Western European art of the Renaissance. Conclusions. Creating a new concept of the Ukrainian iconostasis at the junction of two traditions was a reaction to the social and political context of the period. The introduction to the Ukrainian iconostasis of the frames and its transformation at the beginning of the 17th century in an architectural frame gives the basis to consider this transformation as an ideological project. The new design of the Ukrainian iconostasis, due to the introduction of the blind arcade in the upper tier and the abundant decoration of all surfaces, referred to a similar device of the iconoscopes of the Balkans, and especially the iconostases of Athos. Under the conditions of the establishment of the Greek Catholic Church, such iconostasis construction was a visual marker of the confessional identity of an Orthodox Ukrainian church. At the same time, one of the goals of simultaneously increasing the spatial depth of the iconostasis could be the desire to strengthen the emotional impression of its new architectural image. The use of monumental volumetric structures to influence the consciousness of believers is a technique widely used by the Catholic the art of the time.