Irina Yazykova Translated by Paul Grenier
Despite persecution and the destruction of monasteries and much of religious life, a small group of iconographers kept the ancient story and practice alive. In Hidden and Triumphant, Irina Yazykova tells the dramatic history of the Russian Orthodox icon in the 20th century. She tells the saga of those iconographers who at great personal cost preserved the tradition from the time of the Bolshevik persecutions through to the present day, restoring and developing Russian iconography under the harshest of circumstances.
Adopting the art of the icon from Byzantine tradition, medieval Russia developed its own unique iconography that for many centuries was a glory of the Russian culture. But in 1917, Russia was turned upside down by the Bolshevik revolution. During the ensuing persecutions of the Church, many monasteries and churches were ruined, icons destroyed, and thousands of believers killed or sent to Soviet prisons and labor camps. Many iconographers painted holy images secretly while in prison. Others were forced to leave Russia altogether, and while living abroad, struggled to preserve their Orthodox traditions. These are their stories.
Today's renaissance of Russian iconography unites the traditions of the medieval past and is made possible by the sacrifices of this previous generation of heroes.