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2006 | 6-7 | 52-64

Article title

THE OLD BELIEVERS' ICON PAINTING IN THE COLLECTION OF THE CHURCH OF THE GREBENSHCHIKOV COMMUNITY OF BEZPOPOVIAN OLD BELIEVERS IN RIGA (Vecticibnieku ikonu gleznieciba Rigas Grebenscikova vecticibnieku draudzes lugsanu nama kolekcija)


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The article reflects on the Old Believers' icon painting in the collection of the Church of the Grebenshchikov Community of Bezpopovian Old Believers in Riga (GCBOBR). GCBOBR is the largest Old Believer congregation and the artistic heritage of its church is an outstanding part of the world cultural heritage. GCBOBR has one of the most important icon collections in world. In Latvia icon painting has always been connected with Russian culture as it is an intrinsic characteristic of Orthodox and Old Believers' congregations. The article gives brief information about the development of Old Believers' culture in Latvia, which has its origins very soon after the Church reform in Russia in 1653. Specific icons are described from the 15th-20th century, which show definite tendencies in development of the tradition. Some biographical data and the characteristics of creative work are given for those authors whose works are included in the collection. At the end of the 19th but especially in the 20th century, the role of local icon painters grew significantly. This is a period when we can speak about the Baltic school of icon painting. Its most important artist Gavril Frolov was working in Estonia and Latvia, but there are none of his works in GCBOBR. His pupil Pimen Sofronov had a studio in the GCBOBR church; he also taught icon painting to young artists. The works show fidelity to the ancient cannons of Muscovite icons. Semyon Bikodorov and his work are mentioned for his importance in the development of the tradition.


  • Ilze Kreituse, Latvian Academy of Art, Kalpaka bulvaris 13, Riga LV-1867, Latvia


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