Saints Cyril, Leontius and especially Saint Athanasius are depicted with genuine holiness in icons dating back to the 15th century that are now housed in the museum of the Novgorod Kremlin.
Thanks to expressive art forms, and a liberal approach to a canon which goes as far as shaping an idiosyncratic style, icon-painters could make a face and eyes look holy and spiritual in some icons and murals.
April 4, 2008
Things and events can be enlightened by nature or landscape: a shadow of an ugly building looks rhythmical, light and harmonic as it is set on grass and interacts with the silhouette of woods in the distance.
January 31, 2002
On the resemblance of the images of saints depicted in icons and the state of nature in quiet sunny days in autumn.
The resemblance of the state of the image's holiness and clarity of nature in autumn consists in enlightened and transparent lightness, surrounded by a feeling of an upcoming departure.
A psychological intention turns the state of nature into a spiritual value.
Yet nature has other states: theloud noise of surf that tirelessly falls on coastal stones reminds us of the rage of living beings.
We experience genuine revelations about eternity in as far as we reach it through nature and relations with loved ones.
August 5, 2004
Every look at nature is a gulp of eternity.
October 9, 2009
A human will never appreciate what he is capable of if there are no extreme situations in his or her life. However, some people treat life as an extreme situation in general. In this case a creative act appears as the result of sacrifice in an extreme situation.
August 11, 2001
"…art is something that is not human any longer"
June 24, 2005
An artist draws on other areas of their life to make the work's art harmonious. And this is the value of Art.
August 8, 2016
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"…to aspire to give the emotional side of life related to faith – God in a legitimate form"
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The azrtist's true creative task is always connected with his or her personal existential situation.
The artist's address to evangelical subjects is just a step of his or her growth. One should learn to see their meaning in ordinary life.
People can easily imagine something scarier and uglier than a human face. But they cannot imagine anything more beautiful.
May 19, 2009
A haycock in a peasant yard put in the centre of Isaac Levitan's painting is turned into light and centre of the composition. Such transformation of a thing is the truth, revelation about it that is lost in naturalistic images.
It is person's ego that encourages him or her to think about God, free will and immortality, in other words to be a philosopher! People who think about these subjects less are not just less intellectual but they are often more moral. Although the Ancient Greeks considered that only sages were people of morality.
July 30, 2010
One should look at hisor her own life, art and deeds as if from the future…
January 6, 2005
"It is also the case that the the philosopher must cease to be a contemporary to himself"*
Everything turns into "sweet past" so quickly.
August 24, 2012
The aspiration for elevated "eternal" subjects can fade away as easily as all our abilities can.
March 6–7, 2000
A person becomes closer to me when I see his or her insecurity.
One perceives insecurity of loved ones as his or her own finiteness.
August 6, 2004
Dead relatives and friends keep living expressly for me only in my mind, they evolve together with it and can die away with it for the lack of another reality.
May 24, 2009
Extract from "Book of Memory of Tortured and
Executed by Shooting without Guilt in 1930-1952"
¹2534 Yevdokimov Andrey Georgevich, 1901, agriculturalist.
The sentence was carried out on March 8th, 1942. The father's eyes in the last photograph express a poignant desire to understand what was happening, what had already happened…
A competitive project on erecting a monument in Moscow in commemoration of the victims of repression.
The tragic events of repression strike us with pity not only due to the number of losses but also due to their quality, since in the first place society lost the bravest, most honest, energetic and conscious part of it that was ready to sacrifice itself.
Having paid such a high price for our historical experience, today we have to restore in our wider population the highest spiritual and constructive features of the national character of these victims in the form of a national idea.
July 30, 2015
My Question to Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
Once in the 1980s I was invited to listen to a sermon and to talk to Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh in the apartment of my friends: Ekaterina and Evgeniy Utenkov. Such talks were sometimes arranged when he came to Moscow.
Around 10-12 people interested in talking to the Metropolitan gathered in the apartment. The meeting started with Metropolitan Anthony's one-hour sermon on the subject that he had chosen. Then Metropolitan Anthony answered questions related to the subject of their discussion and posed by those who were present. Everything he said was recorded on a dictaphone and then included in the Metropolitan's books.
After the discussion everyone could talk to Metropolitan Anthony privately about his or her concern in a separate room.
Obviously, my conversation with Metropolitan Anthony started with brief information about myself. I was immediately amazed by the Metropolitan's manner of speaking. He talked as if his interlocutor was important and knew more about the subject. Nevertheless, this fact did not prevent the Metropolitan from answering my question.
The question was the following: in order to excel in art, an artist should cultivate sharp perception of sensual forms of the world while being aware that the depth of the content of his or her works of art depends on his or her spiritual growth.
Now I think (almost 30 years later) that the contradiction between the sharp perception of sensual forms and the achievement of spiritual maturity by an artist is found mostly in secular art, since an icon painter cannot portray a spiritually deep image of a saint without trying to live like the saint as much as a person can. In any case and at least while he is getting ready and painting the saint.
Metropolitan Anthony immediately understood the incompleteness of my question and gave me an answer corresponding to my level of understanding of the issue at that time. He said (I convey carefully what I have remembered with my own words): "God is the creator, the artist, and He has fashioned us from his own image, therefore we should follow Him in our aspiration for art. Do not ruin your art with efforts to find sanctity that is beyond your strength".
I have recently shared this scene from my life with a friend of mine. He offered to change the question and think of the relationship between art and humbleness.
I believe, in view of the complexity of the subject, the answer should be the same: "Do not ruin your art with excessive humility".
Other versions of Metropolitan Anthony's answers:
"Man is creative. That was the intention when creating him."
"True sanctity does not demand sacrifice of the art."
"A true way towards sanctity implies that the art itself is enabled to grow spiritually."
* * *
A creative process is mainly intimate activity.
* * *
The most worthy pastime nowadays is to think calmly and leisurely, and to realize life experience in the mind, and not the other way around.
One of the highest manifestations of creative work is to write something down, gradually polishing its form and deepening its meaning that has origins in the Revelation, because "In the beginning was the Word".
August 11–12, 2015
* TN: Translation of David Farrell Krell.