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134 | sister Atanasia Văetiși Fig. 23: Detail of the Apostles’ icons register, Patriarchal Cathedral, painters: Nicolae Polcovnicul (1836) with repaintings by Dimitrie Belizarie (1935). Credits: Daniel Mihail Constantinescu. Fig. 24: Detail of the feast icons register, Patriarchal Cathedral, painters: Nicolae Polcovnicul (1836) with repaintings by Dimitrie Belizarie (1935). Credits: Daniel Mihail Constantinescu. Fig. 25: David the Prophet, icon belonging to the Patriarchal Cathedral, Nicolae Polcovnicul, 1836. Credits: Daniel Mihail Constantinescu. ing with historical themes. He used all of these techniques in the monumental Church art of that time. 31 Nevertheless, his program did not continue for long; nor did the rigid and simultaneously soft painting style of Dimitrie Belizarie achieve a proliferation in the following decades in the churches of the Romanian capital city. Church painting of the ‘50s-‘60s evolved on a trajectory that oriented itself towards the copying of Byzantine mural ensembles, without the theoretical pretensions of Dimitrie Belizarie, Costin Petrescu or Olga Greceanu to impose a new national style in painting. The Patriarchal Cathedral iconostasis is a mixture of styles; it combines the classicising Neo-baroque of the sculptural element, Nicolae Polcovnicul’s painting school, the Neo-byzantine style of the first decades of the 20 th century, and, lastly, the 1960s revival of the Byzantine technique of enamelling. Over a period of 150 years, its donors, or in any case the church hierarchy, drifted away from Byzantium and then turned back towards it, trying to recover it programmatically. They obeyed the dominant fashions and currents of those times, whilst at the same time rejecting a radical renewal (such as, for instance, the change of all the registers), but also attempting to preserve unaltered what remained of the prior stage (Nicolae Polcovnicul in 1936, Dimitrie Belizarie in 1965). 32 One may identify here (on behalf of the patrons) either a mainly subjective approach to choosing an artist or a programmatic support for a particular direction in the Church art. * * * In all three situations presented here, the donors’ choice of icons in the iconostases of the analysed churches responded to a cultural tendency and artistic orientation of that period. Cultural environment, church hierarchy, clergy and worshippers were reaching a consensus that determined a mutation within ecclesiastical art, immediately absorbed by the Romanian capital’s churches. The choice of the Russian icon was a consequence not only of the decline of artistic life under the Ottoman rule, but also of a common tendency in the understanding of eccle-

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