Friday 4 March 6.15pm for 6.45pm start
The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT
Oksana Kondratyeva – ‘New Light on Ukrainian Stained Glass’
£15.50. Book here
Although Ukrainian stained glass has been terra incognita for many years, it appears to be a fascinating episode in the history of European art. This illustrated lecture traces the history of stained glass in Ukraine, focusing on the 19th-20th-century glazing.
At the turn of the 20th century, Ukraine witnessed a sudden renaissance in the visual arts echoing the Aesthetic Movement. It was a luminous age in the history of stained glass – the flourishing of ‘secession’ and art nouveau in Western and Eastern Ukraine respectively. Stained glass windows became frequent features in ecclesiastic and secular architecture, emphasising the visual and aesthetic qualities of Byzantine iconography and Ukrainian folk-art.
During World War I, the revolution of 1917, the civil war (1918-1920) and World War II, a great amount of stained glass was destroyed. The new soviet regime banned religion, extensively demolishing churches and devastating sacred art. The Soviet era left a complex legacy, which embraces the early avant-garde, grand avenues and megalomania in urban architecture. More than that, it produced an infrastructure of public space for a secular society, where monumental arts, stained and slab glass in particular, played a crucial role. Not always popular, it nevertheless, left traces of skilful experimental artistic approaches. The Soviet regime expanded monumental slab and stained glass in the decoration of universities, schools, hospitals, libraries, canteens, and underground stations – the genuine palaces for the people, dedicated to the ritual of commuting to work. To dismiss the Soviet Ukrainian public art, enriched by architectural glass, would be a huge mistake. A new period of stained glass development began with the independence of Ukraine.
Although Ukrainian stained glass has multiple connotations and cannot be understood in isolation from its historical context, it gives us an absolute and lasting legacy of variety and virtuosity in glazing, which glorifies the beauty of light.
The image shows a detail of the Archangel Gabriel window by Petro Kholodnyi, Dormition Church, Lviv, Ukraine (1928).
Tags: ukrainian studies