7 months ago


Preliminaries to a

Preliminaries to a history of Bucharest iconostases of 18 th -19 th centuries sister Atanasia Văetiși Mănăstirea Stavropoleos, Bucharest (ro) / alumna Universitatea Naţională de Arte, Bucarest (ro) résumé: L’étude porte sur quatre iconostases situées dans les églises de Bucarest ; elle traite de plusieurs étapes chronologiques et de plusieurs styles artistiques. Pour ce qui est des styles de sculpture, il faut rappeler le Brancovan, le Néobaroque hellénique et le Baroque classicisant ; pour la peinture, il convient de mentionner les icônes brancovanes, les icônes russes œuvrées par les peintres du tsar, les icônes roumaines peintes pendant la transition entre la tradition byzantine et l’Académisme ou le Néoclassicisme, voire l’icône néo-byzantine. Plusieurs combinaisons de ces éléments sont présentes dans les iconostases analysées. Cela est dû, d’une part, aux choix initiaux faits par les commanditaires (comme dans les iconostases brancovanes avec icônes impériales russes qui se trouvent dans la chapelle patriarcale et dans le couvent de Stavropoleos). D’autre part, ces juxtapositions peuvent être le résultat des changements (comme les iconostases néobaroques avec icônes néoclassiques de l’Église Blanche et de la Cathédrale patriarcale). L’étude explique les changements dans les goûts des commanditaires et leur adaptation à l’évolution de l’art européen. Dans une période relativement courte d’environ 200 ans, la sculpture et la peinture des iconostases témoignent d’un passage rapide de la tradition byzantine des artisans médiévaux à la manière occidentalisée des artistes modernes, mais aussi d’un retour aux principes traditionnels de l’icône byzantine. Les ktètors modernes, membres de la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, de l’aristocratie ou de la petite bourgeoisie, ont écrit une nouvelle page dans l’histoire de l’art religieux de la capitale roumaine. L’intérieur des églises a changé ; le résumé de cette évolution peut être lu dans les couches chronologiques de l’iconostase, qui témoignent de ces changements. mots-clés: style brancovan, icone, iconostase, Académisme, Néoclassicisme, Baroque. rezumat: Studiul analizează patru iconostase aflate în biserici din București, care alătură mai multe etape cronologice și stiluri artistice. Astfel, pentru sculptură întâlnim stilurile brâncovenesc, neobaroc elen, baroc clasicizant, iar pentru pictură: icoane brâncovenești, icoane rusești lucrate de pictorii țarului, icoana românească din perioada de tranziție de la tradiția bizantină la academism și neoclasicism, icoana neobizantină. Aceste elemente sunt prezente în iconostasele analizate în diferite combinații, fapt datorat, pe de o parte, opțiunii inițiale a comanditarului (de ex. iconostas brâncovenesc cu icoane împărătești rusești, cazul Paraclisului Patriarhal și al Mănăstirii Stavropoleos) și, pe de altă parte, modificărilor suferite în timp (de ex. iconostas neobaroc cu icoane neoclasice, cazul Bisericii Albe și al Catedralei Patriarhale). Studiul arată evoluția gustului comanditarilor și adaptarea acestora la mutațiile produse în arta europeană. Într-un interval relativ scurt, de circa 200 de ani, sculptura și pictura iconostaselor marchează o trecere de la tradiția bizantină a meșterilor medievali la maniera occidentalizantă a artiștilor moderni și înapoi la recuperarea limbajului tradițional al icoanei bizantine. În zorii modernității, ctitorii care aparțineau ierarhiei clericale, aristocrației sau micii burghezii au scris o nouă pagină a artei bisericești în capitala României. Întreg interiorul bisericilor s-a schimbat, iar iconostasul, cu straturile cronologice pe care le conservă, poate fi considerat un rezumat al acestei evoluții. cuvinte cheie: stil brâncovenesc, icoană, iconostas, academism, neoclasicism, baroc. In the old churches of Bucharest there remain numerous valuable iconostases that could become the object of study for art historians, but, surprisingly, the field has remained almost unresearched to this day. The subject has been largely ignored, with the exception of a few specimens dating back to the Brancovan era, catalogued in the 1970s, solely approached with regards to their sculpture, 1 and that of some isolated descriptions in the monographs of a few churches and monasteries. 2 After the end of the 18 th century, when the stylistic uniformity of Byzantinetradition art was left behind, this phenomenon is all the more interesting, due to an explosion of forms in the decorative repertoire, combining elements of the Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical and Neo-gothic styles, thus resulting in a multitude of variations and stylistic options. This is all with regards to the sculptural element of the iconostasis ensemble. The icons themselves were been subject to successive replacements, and offer an even more complex picture: within an iconostasis, sometimes even within the framework of a register, several chronological stages may coexist. The reasons differ, and one may identify at least three situations: i) the destruction or degradation of some icons, as a consequence of moving the iconostasis from one church to another, or of natural disasters (fires, earthquakes); ii) the desire of the community to renew the church heritage on the occasion of various restoration Museikon, Alba Iulia, 1, 2017, p. 123-136 | 123

124 | sister Atanasia Văetiși and reconstruction projects (in which case old icons are either partially replaced or lateral panels are added); and iii) the preference of the donor for other painters and artistic styles, which is, in its turn, a symptom of the taste for novelty (the Royal icons are valued places for displaying the most recent artistic tendencies). One should also mention here a somewhat subordinate situation: the retouching or partial repainting of old panels by the painter contracted to (re)paint the church, in which instance the same icon retains several painted layers, all visible. Our study investigates a group of four monuments in which one or more of the situations mentioned above can be found. From a stylistic perspective, these monuments fit into the following typologies: i. Brancovan iconostases dating from the first decades of the 18 th century, with the upper registers including icons painted by icon painters from the Brancovan school, as well as Royal icons made by Russian painters; ii. Iconostases belonging to the Hellenistic Neo-baroque style characteristic of the second half of the 18 th century, with icons made by local painters – from the schools of Cernica and Căldărușani, in the first decades of the 19 th century – and, in a second stage, by the academic painter Gheorghe Tattarescu (1820-1894); iii. Iconostases with stylistic evidence of a classicizing Baroque, with icons attributable to painters from Cernica, and to some painters of the first half of the 20 th century. The examples discussed herein, as well as the authorship attributions and the stylistic categorisation proposed, intend to show the donors’ evolving taste and the manner in which they adapted to the mutations produced in European art. Within a relatively short period (200 years), the sculpture and painting of the iconostasis mark a passage from the Byzantine tradition of the master craftsman to the Western manner of the modern artist, and back to a revival Fig. 1: The iconostasis of the Patriarchal chapel, 1723. Credits: Daniel Mihail Constantinescu. Fig. 2: The Entry into the Temple, Patriachal chapel, icon assigned to Tihon Filatjev Ivanov, 1722. Credits: Daniel Mihail Constantinescu. of the traditional language of the Byzantine icon. At the dawn of modernity, the church founders belonging to the clerical hierarchy, the aristocracy, or the petite bourgeoisie wrote a fresh chapter in the history of ecclesiastical art in Romania’s capital city. Church interiors, furniture, and architectural forms change. The iconostasis, with the chronological layers that it preserves, may be considered to be a summation of this evolution. 3 “Peter, the Russian history-painter in Bucharest” or how to bring the Tsar’s painters to Bucharest. Amongst the churches in Bucharest which still retain a Brancovan iconostasis, there are some in which the Royal icons were commissioned from Russian workshops during the same era. The other registers belong to the tradition of Brancovan painting, but for those icons that have the biggest impact on worshippers, the choice of the donors inclined towards a different style. Such is the case of the Patriarchal residence chapel, endowed with a rich iconostasis by metropolitan Daniil (1719-1731) in 1723. This iconostasis was most likely designed by local woodcraftsmen in the style and decorative repertoire particular to the Brancovan iconostasis. The Royal icons were made by a Russian icon-maker, in a manner characteristic of the Tsar’s painters and of Moscow workshops in Oruzheynaya Palata. The second register icon among the chapel’s six Royal icons, i.e. The Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple and eight Saints (the holy hierarchs John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great, saint Apostles Peter and Paul holding the model of a church,

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