Art and Faith

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Mikhail Nesterov. The Most Holy Mother of God of Tenderness. 1909

The Most Holy Mother of God of Tenderness

Mikhail Nesterov

1909

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This is an example of the iconography executed by the great artist Mikhail Nesterov for the Marfa-Mariinskoye Obitel (Martha and Mary Convent) in Moscow. He also designed the habits of the sisterhood. Of course, it is not in the “approved” “Byzantine” style. Oh, dear! Let’s all shudder together in unison! No doubt, my faithful readers know my opinion on “Byzantine” iconography! Well… it hasn’t changed one whit since the last time! I remember a recent Anglo-Saxon convert excoriating me for using “Mother of God” instead of “Theotokos” and for championing “Western” icons. Firstly, we do NOT say “Theotokos” in Russian, we say “Bogoroditse” (She who bore God, the Godbearer). We also say… GASP! …”Bogomater” (Mother of God). Therefore, in English, “Mother of God” or “Godbearer” do quite nicely. As for “Theotokos”, that is an precious affectation best discarded. As for the complaint against “Western” icons, it was made by a person ignorant of Russian art history, so, as a Christian, I must extend forgiveness (to the person, not to the idea… that’s still absurd!). If Grand Princess St Yelizaveta Fyodrovna the New Martyr approved of Nesterov’s take on iconography, so do I! I do daresay that the blood of a martyr outweighs all the pseudo-scholarship from the usual cast of suspects.

BMD

Friday, 14 December 2007

Video. Blagoslovi Dushe Moya Gospoda (Liturgy). Rakhmaninov

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This is from the opus 31 musical setting of the Liturgy by Sergei Rakhmaninov. This video is dedivated to the New Russian Martyrs. The image sequence begins with the trial of St Veniamin of Petrograd, then, icons of the martyrs follow, with individual and corporate icons alternating. This is to show that the martyrdom of the New Russian Confessors was both a personal and united podvig (act of courage). To close the sequence of the martyrs, I chose the icon of the Finding of the Relics of Patriarch St Tikhon Bellavin. This is a thematic bridge between the past events and the present day. The final image is the Mother of God Stand for Christ with the Martyr’s Cross. That needs no commentary. The blood of the New Martyrs is the seedbed of the current revival in Russia. This is my tribute to them.

BMD

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Video. Tsar Nicholas II and the Romanov Family

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Vintage photographs of the Royal Martyrs backed by music from Pyotr Ilyich Chaikovsky.

BMD

Friday, 23 November 2007

A World of Lost Brightness, Part Two (music by Chopin)

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Part Two of the portraiture of Valentin Serov. His famous portrait of Tsar St Nikolai Aleksandrovich the New Martyr is at the end of this programme. The portrait preceding that painting is of his daughter, Grand Princess St Olga Nikolaevna. They were murdered by the Reds in Yekaterinburg on 4/17 July 1918. Unfortunately, there were those in the diaspora who attacked the canonisation of the New Martyrs on sophistical grounds. Fittingly, those who did so are now undergoing a severe internal crisis. God DOES see and judge! The music is the Nocturne in D flat major, op 27 nr 2 by Frédéric Chopin played by Yevgeny Kissin.

BMD

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