The déjà vu effect: Western sources of the Kyiv-Pechersk graphics from the 17th to the first half of the 18th century
During the 15th to the first half of the 16th century Ruthenian sacred art, primarily icon-painting, developed in a rather isolated environment from Western art centres, feeding primarily on impulses from Greece, the Balkans, the Principality of Moldavia, thus remaining within the boundaries of Pax Orthodoxa. Changes in the socio-political and cultural life of Rus' in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, facilitated by printed graphics, entailed a "visual turn" which opened up new media channels of communication with the Catholic and Protestant worlds. Already the first orthodox publications, which appeared in Krakow at the end of the 15th century, featured engravings from German books.
In the second half of the 16th century, when printing houses began to appear in the Ruthenian lands of the Rzeczpospolita, this practice was largely abandoned, having learned to make copies first of individual graphic elements, and during the 17th century already professional copies. Behind such a change of reception of the Western samples are radical changes in religious culture, reducing the cultural distance between East and West Europe.
The focus of my study will be the reception of Western graphics in engravings from liturgical editions of one of the most influential printing houses in the Ruthenian lands - the Orthodox Kyiv-Pechersk monastery, founded in 1616. The complex involvement and interpretation of a large number of sources requires the following tasks:
1. Carry out a "DNA test" of the pre-Modern religious graphics of the Kyiv-Pechersk monastery regarding its dependence on Western sources.
2. To explore the nature of adaptation, interpretation and recontextualization of Western images by Kyiv masters, which allows to reconstruct the cultural filter through which they let Western images, applying compositional, stylistic and especially ideological corrections. This makes it possible to see in the temporal dynamics the process of transformation of foreign images into their own, forming a regional artistic landscape.
3. To bring Kyiv's graphic art into the historiographic discourse of global early modern art as a recipient and cultural mediator through which modified Western images reached the printing houses of the Russian Empire, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Danubian principalities, etc.