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Orthodox arts journal : Fresco in France


Between 2016 and 2018 I created a series of wall paintings with scenes from the Old Testament for the exterior walls of a chapel in Dordogne, France. The chapel is located in the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration which was founded by Archimandrite Elie and is a dependency of the Monastery of Simonos Petras on Mount Athos. The murals, representing several biblical passages, are painted as a frieze starting from the south side of the chapel, encircling the whole, and ending at the western front with three panels surrounding the entrance.

The text which follows is a spiritual commentary on the murals. Whoever witnesses the iconography experiences both the creativity and the tradition that is anchored in the Church.

The total surface of the frieze is approximately 35m2. The height is 1.2m and the total length is approximately 31 linear meters. In addition, there are three panels that surround the entrance to the chapel.

As is quite common with exterior wall paintings and decorations, the placement and arrangement of this frieze cannot be seen as a whole. With respect to the chapel, it is necessary to circumambulate it in order to attain a complete view. A unique feature is that the iconography is placed on the outside of the building where the adjacent visual surfaces are the roof and at some points the sky rather than the ceiling. In addition, the natural lighting conditions vary according to the season, changing the external luminous colors and shapes.

The iconography of the biblical scenes is based on in-depth research into various models created by the Tradition of the Church. Frescoes and mosaics from the Monastery of Hossios Loukas in Greece (11th and 12th centuries) as well as the Menologion of Basil II inspired the stylization of the work.

I created new iconographic compositions from the ancient models. It is important to remember that a creative iconographer needs to respect the “rules” or “canons” instituted by the Church, because it is the canon that preserves and guarantees the authenticity of the message transmitted by the Orthodox Church. With these comments, I underline here the paradoxical character of iconographic creativity, in which every icon conforming to the canons of the Church, is in fact a real creation or a re-creation of a model.

Read the entire article in english here :

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