Nikola Saric’s ‘Windows’

21 martyrs

Holy Martyrs of Libya (21 christians killed by IS terrorists)

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Behold the man! The vision and the glory of God.
(Adam from the cycle “Testimonies”, detail)

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christ

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Revelation 22:13

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Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31), from the cycle “Earthly stories with a heavenly meaning: Parables of Christ”, 2014

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Jonah

“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mt 12:39-40)”

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myrrh

Jn 12:1-11; Lk 7:36-50

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St Demetrios

Akathist to St. Démétrios de Thessalonique, Kontakion10 / Oikos 10

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Akathist to St. Démétrios de Thessalonique– Kontakion 6/ Ikos 6, Nikola Saric, 130×160 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2009

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banquet

The Parable of the Great Banquet (Lk 14:15-24), from the cycle “Earthly stories with a heavenly meaning: Parables of Christ”, 2014

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lost sheep

Parable of the Lost Sheep (Lk 15:3-7), from the cycle “Earthly stories with a heavenly meaning: Parables of Christ”, 2014

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Joy and happiness arose in the house of Jacob. Joseph is alive!

[Nikola Saric’s Paintings and own Captions]

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  • Saric’s recent publication “Earthy stories with a heavenly meaning: Parables of Christ”

Windows Into Heaven

Nikola Sarić (born 1985) studied at the TehnoArt School, the Faculty of Applied Arts (art restoration and conservation) and the Academy of Serbian Orthodox Church (fresco painting), all in Belgrade. He focuses on painting, bespoke wall design projects and producing a range of hand-made products under the label Wallsuit.

Saric, a versatile and prolific artist, specialises in sculpting, mosaic, painting, design and calligraphy. Beside working as an independent artist, he holds mosaic courses in Hannover.

Nikola_Sarić,_Installation_GAZELLE,_art-f-air_2012_in_der_Kulturetage_im_SofaLoft,_Jordanstraße_26,_30167_Hannover

Nurtured in the practice of church art, his artistic expression is deriving from sacred Greco-Roman and oriental art. In his works, through the immediacy and simplicity of visual elements, he is trying to convey the intuition of a “transfigured world” and its everlasting glow, harmony and beauty. His interpretations reflect the personal spiritual experience as well as the tradition that breathes and evolves within the concepts of contemporaries. 

For his decorative arts projects and bespoke wall design projects, go to http://www.wallsuit.de

To watch Saric at work, ‘suiting a wall’, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FvzZBmF5nQ&feature=youtu.be

Photos from a recent church exhibition:

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For more information please visit his website nikolasaric.de

Romanian Matrix

4_Elena Murariu, +ÿtefan cel Mare SONY DSC

 

Toma Chituc and Mihai Coman, two iconographers in the Romanian icon renewal.

I. Iconography, a recovered artistic language 

It would have been impossible to imagine a public conversation on icons and their veneration a quarter of a century ago in communist Romania. (…) However, in the last 25 years that have elapsed since the anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, changes have been impressive. (…) In the aftermath of the atheist regime, religious life has revived in all its dimensions: art, liturgy, parish life and monastic communities. There are new parish churches, new monasteries, new canonized saints as well as new Christian martyrs of the communist persecution receiving a large popular veneration and waiting to be canonized. In this context, the icon has become a common presence in homes and offices.

Ioan Popa working on his icon of the

The most remarkable aspect of this revival is that the abundant iconographic demand and the high number of skilled iconographers gave rise to a competitive ambiance that led to an obvious advance in the quality of iconography and, subsequently, to a new iconographic movement.

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Our interest focuses on these latter artists who have reached an advanced aptitude of mastering the painting of icons and frescos. Socially, they are also the most visible category, knowing how to promote their creation, how to set up events and integrate their art in the larger cultural and artistic phenomenon. Their personalities are complex: in addition to working in the studio or on the scaffold, they organize symposia, open exhibitions and workshops, invite colleagues from the country and abroad, some of them teach religious art and, generally, they bring iconography to the public attention. One may observe that, over the past five to ten years, the phenomenon has become more alive and has configured a group of iconographers and church painters who are not only talented artists but also curators, theorists and project managers. Furthermore, one of the most significant aspects is that a few artistic values have been gradually assumed by the most valuable iconographers:

1. A thorough education in classical art. ( …)

2. A personal spiritual life. All of them assume, with the Orthodox tradition, that a spiritual dimension is a necessary ingredient to painting an icon. Painting an icon is not a mere artistic activity but a facet of the larger spiritual growth, both personal and part of the community in which the iconographer lives. Painting an icon, therefore, becomes a way of expressing their creativity, a spiritual search in a direct continuity with their ancestral Orthodox legacy and a way of life to which they dedicate themselves entirely. Thus, they strive to understand the icon in a theological manner, as a sacred image, and to address it from a spiritual angle. There are a few cases in which the artists even chose the monastic life; and icon painting became their main obedience in the monastery.

3. They do not imitate but innovate within the canons of tradition. (…)

II. Some iconographers and their work

Gregore Popescu. He is the oldest among the Romanian church painters and has the largest artistic oeuvre.

1_Grigore Popescu_ansamblu altar

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Elena Murariu represents the middle generation. She worked as a fresco specialist who restored different mural assemblies of the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries and subsequently commenced painting her own icons.

4_Elena Murariu, +ÿtefan cel Mare

Elena Murariu, Holy Brancovan (Brâncoveanu) Martyrs

Gabriel Toma Chituc. Also primarily educated as a classical painter, Chituc is an original and gifted iconographer with a special artistic expressivity. In the last decade, he has become a prolific iconographer striving to find the mystery of the authentic icon inspired by the Holy Spirit.

6_Gabriel Chituc_Nasterea

7_Gabriel Chituc_Bunavestire

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Ioan Popa. Although he is only 38, Popa has already painted in the fresco technique two churches in Bucharest and Alba Iulia, the church of a monastery in the Apuseni Mountains as well as baptisteries and small chapels in Southern Italy, Cyprus and Mount Athos.

10_Ioan Popa, capela Spital G. Alexandrescu

11_SS Redentore Church, Manfredonia, Italiy,

12_Ioan Popa, ST. GEORGE

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14_Perete sudic, Alba Iulia

15_Bis. Alba Iulia, detaliu

Mihai Coman. He teaches church painting techniques at the Faculty of Theology in Bucharest and studied restoration in Romania. However, in what regards his skills of painting icons and frescos, Coman affirms that he “learned the technique on Mount Athos and understood the icon with the professor and painter Georgios Kordis,” whose doctoral student he is in Greece.

16_Mihai Coman_Cina cea de taina

17_Mihai Coman_Gabriel Chituc_Schitul Brazi

18_Mihai Coman_Acoperamantul

Deacon Nicolae Bălan. After his studies in iconography at the Faculty of Theology in the Department of monumental art, he attended the Faculty of Fine Arts in order to improve his drawing and composition techniques. Bălan is a gifted draftsman and he painted the metropolitan chapel from Limours (France) and St. Trinity Church in Alba Iulia.

19_Balan Nicolae, biserica memorial¦ Alba Iulia

21_Balan Nicolae, cruce altar

20_Balan Nicolae, detaliu bolt¦ Alba Iulia

To these iconographers should be added many others, all of special talent and abundant production. We will mention here a few of them for a few particular reasons. First, some have composed new iconographic themes, like Răzvan Gâscă with his St. Maximus the Confessor with scenes from his life, painted to mark the presence of the relics of St. Maximus the Confessor to Iaşi in 2010.

22_Razvan Gasca_Sf Maxim M

Likewise, Marius Ghinescu for his St. Pachomius at St. Dimitry of Rostov, which represents a moment in the life of Venerable Pachomius of Gledin (1674-1724), a Romanian hermit and bishop who spent his last years at the Pecerska Lavra in Kiev.

23_Marius Ghinescu_Sf Pahomie +Öi Sf Dimitrie al Rostovului

Others should be mentioned for the original manner in which they reconceived certain classical themes, for example Daniela Toma Musat, St. M. George.

24_DANIELA Musat Toma_Sf. Gheorghe

Finally, we should mention some who are talented artist monks able to innovate within the canon, such as Mother Olga, St. Joachim and Anna, Monk Haralambie, The Venerable Founders of Monastery Vatopedi, and Monk Iacob, Mandylion.

25_Monahia Olga_Ioachim si Ana

26_Pr Haralambie_Sf Vatopedini

26_pr Iacov_mandylion

28_BOGDAN VERDES

29_Gabriel Chituc_MD Slava Mc Brancoveni

30_Ioan Popa_Iisus Vita de vie

31_Daniel Codrescu_Deisis cu Sf. Brancoveni

32_Elena Murariu_Sfintii Brancoveni

The last example belongs to Sorin Dumitrescu, a talented metaphysical painter of the old generation converted into an inspired and charismatic theoretician of the icon as well as an original iconographer in spite of the smaller number of icons he has realised. While in his early career as an iconographer he filtered Palaeologan tradition in a personal manner, he searches his present sources of inspiration in the times which preceded iconoclastic controversy.

33_Sorin-Dumitrescu_Modelul-iconic-al-muceniciei--Brancovenilor

With this we close our short excursion into contemporary Romanian iconography. The diversity of artists, styles, techniques, media and sources of inspiration unveils a fascinating artistic and spiritual phenomenon. It will be worth seeing in which direction Romanian iconography will evolve in the future.

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Source: http://www.orthodoxartsjournal.org/the-new-romanian-masters-innovative-iconography-in-the-matrix-of-tradition/

Solitary and Naked Before God

... If we decide responsibly and seriously to make the Gospel truth the standard for our human souls, we will have no doubts about how to act in any particular case of our lives: we should renounce everything we have, take up our cross, and follow Him. The only thing Christ leaves us is the path that leads after Him, and the cross which we bear on our shoulders, imitating His bearing of the cross to Golgotha.

[And that is all]

It can be generally affirmed that Christ calls us to imitate Him. That is the exhaustive meaning of all Christian morality. And however differently various peoples in various ages understand the meaning of this imitation, all ascetic teachings in Christianity finally boil down to it. Desert dwellers imitate Christ’s forty-day sojourn in the desert. Fasters fast because He fasted. Following His example, the prayerful pray, virgins observe purity, and so on. It is not by chance that Thomas Kempis entitled his book The Imitation of Christ; it is a universal precept of Christian morality, the common title, as it were, of all Christian asceticism.

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El Greco – Christ Embraced the Cross (detail) (1587-96)

I will not try to characterize here the different directions this imitation has taken, and its occasional deviations, perhaps, from what determines the path of the Son of Man in the Gospel. There are as many different interpretations as there are people, and deviations are inevitable, because the human soul is sick with sin and deathly weakness.

What matters is something else. What matters is that in all these various paths Christ Himself made legitimate this solitary standing of the human soul before God, this rejection of all the rest – that is, of the whole world: father and mother, as the Gospel precisely puts it, and not only the living who are close to us, but also the recently dead – everything, in short. Naked, solitary, freed of everything, the soul sees only His image before it, takes the cross on its shoulders, following His example, and goes after him to accept its own dawnless night of Gethsemane, its own terrible Golgotha, and through it to bear its faith in the Resurrection into the undeclining joy of Easter.

[And that is all]

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Here it indeed seems that everything is exhausted by the words “God and my soul.” All the rest is what He called me to renounce, and so there is nothing else: God – and my soul – and nothing.

No, not quite nothing. The human soul does not stand empty-handed before God. The fullness is this: God – and my soul – and the cross that it takes up. There is also the cross.

[And that is all]

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El Greco — Christ Carrying the Cross (1587-96)

The meaning and significance of the cross are inexhaustible. The cross of Christ is the eternal tree of life, the invincible force, the union of heaven and earth, the instrument of a shameful death. But what is the cross in our path of the imitation of Christ? How should our crosses resemble the one cross of the Son of Man? For even on Golgotha there stood not one but three crosses: the cross of the God-man and the crosses of the two thieves. Are these two crosses not symbols, as it were, of all human crosses, and does it not depend on us which one we choose? For us the way of the cross is unavoidable in any case, we can only choose to freely follow either the way of the blaspheming thief and perish, or the way of the one who called upon Christ and be with Him today in paradise. For a certain length of time, the thief who chose perdition shared the destiny of the Son of Man. He was condemned and nailed to a cross in the same way; he suffered torment in the same way. But that does not mean that his cross was the imitation of Christ’s cross, that his path led him in the footsteps of Christ.

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Detail from the Crucifixion from the Isenheim Altarpiece, circa 1512-16

… What is most essential, most determining in the image of the cross is the necessity of freely and voluntarily accepting it and taking it up. Christ freely, voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of the world, and raised them up on the cross, and thereby redeemed them and defeated hell and death. To accept the endeavor and the responsibility voluntarily, to freely crucify your sins – that is the meaning of the cross, when we speak of bearing it on our human paths.  … The free path to Golgotha – that is the true imitation of Christ.

[And that is all]

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Crucifixion, by Titian, circa 1555

This would seem to exhaust all the possibilities of the Christian soul, and thus the formula “God and my soul” indeed embraces the whole world. All the rest that was renounced on the way appears only as a sort of obstacle adding weight to my cross. And heavy as it may be, whatever human sufferings it may place on my shoulders, it is all the same my cross, which determines my personal way to God, my personal following in the footsteps of Christ. My illness, my grief, my loss of dear ones, my relations to people, to my vocation, to my work – these are details of my path, not ends in themselves, but a sort of grindstone on which my soul is sharpened, certain – perhaps sometimes burdensome – exercises for my soul, the particularities of my personal path.

[And that is all]

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If that is so, it certainly settles the question. It can only be endlessly varied, depending on the individual particularities of epochs, cultures, and separate persons. But essentially everything is clear. God and my soul, bearing its cross. In this an enormous spiritual freedom, activity, and responsibility are confirmed. And that is all.

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… There are simply millions of people born into the world, some of whom hear Christ’s call to renounce everything, take up their cross, and follow Him, and, as far as their strength, their faith, their personal endeavor allow, they answer that call. They are saved by it, they meet Christ, as if merging their life with His. …

The cross of Golgotha is the cross of the Son of Man, the crosses of the thieves and our personal crosses are precisely personal, and as an immense forest of these personal crosses we are moving along the paths to the Kingdom of Heaven. And that is all.

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Taking Up The Cross

By St. Maria Skobtsova  

  • The first icon on the left is Cross-bearing Theotokos painted by St. Maria Skobtsova of Paris

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Mother Maria Skobtsova died on Good Friday, 1945, in Ravensbr ck concentration camp near Berlin. Maria’s real life is more incredible than any fiction! The “crime” of this influential painter, poet, social activist, Orthodox nun and Russian refugee was her effort to rescue Jews and others being pursued by the Nazis in her adopted city, Paris, where in 1932 she had founded a house of hospitality. … The essay reprinted here is part of a longer text included in Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky and published by Orbis Books.

Source: https://incommunion.org/2007/10/27/taking-up-the-cross/

For her life, look at: https://orthodoxcityhermit.com/2015/09/23/mother-maria-of-paris-saint-of-the-open-door/