Interaction of verbal and graphic image in decoration of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra old-printed Akaphistus-books of the 17-18th cc.




Akaphistus-book, book decoration, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra printing-house, Ukrainian old-printed editions


The article explores the development of art decoration tradition in Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra old-printed Akaphistus-books editions of 17-18th cc. The essential elements of art decoration in these Akaphisthus-books are gravures with iconographic images of prayer addressees, corresponding to certain parts of the akaphistus text. The prayer addressee engravings are located in two positions: before or inside of the akaphistus text part. Frontispiece engravings initiate each part of Akaphistus-book. Iconographic posture of prayer addressee in such gravures directs the reader’s attention to the main topic of preceding text – glorification of God, angels or a saint. The frontispiece engraving in Kyiv-Pechersk Akaphistus of the 17th c. are often accompanied with verbal inscriptions, i. e. citations from the well-known church hymns. Quite often baroque poetic texts, which belong to the genre of Ukrainian baroque descriptive poetry, are placed below the frontispiece engraving. Such verbal inscriptions describe images of the engraving, verbalizing the general features of prayer addressee image. The lack of verbal inscriptions on frontispiece engraving in Akaphistus-books of 18th century is compensated by higher quality of the engraving, due to the usage of xylography technique. The image of prayer addressee is frequently used in the center of headset engraving, which precedes the title of each akaphistus text part. The miniatures inside the text part of akaphistus provide visual enrichment of the prayer process. The tradition of small plot illustrations insertion, corresponding to each of the 12 kondaks and ikoses of akaphistus, was initiated by the first Akaphistus editions of 1625 and 1629. This tradition was quite productive during the 17th – early 18th cc. Since the Akaphistus edition of 1731, the miniatures were substituted by engraved initials. The other peculiarity of this edition, which emerged in the subsequent editions of the 18th c., was the usage of engraved frame on each page. Such elements of the artistic decoration enable simultaneous visual and mental perception of akaphistus, declared in introductions to the first Kyiv-Pechersk Akaphistos editions. This masterpiece contamination of verbal and graphic aids in book artistic decoration presents the distinctive feature of the baroque style that influenced the Ukrainian book culture of the 17-18th centuries.





Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern art

How to Cite

Interaction of verbal and graphic image in decoration of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra old-printed Akaphistus-books of the 17-18th cc. (2021). TEXT AND IMAGE: ESSENTIAL PROBLEMS IN ART HISTORY, 2(6).