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The Icon – Before and Now


“The Icon in the Past and Nowadays” is one of the three permanent expositions in the Ruse Art Gallery, which has existed since 2004.  It includes icons created between XVII – XX century. Three of them are from the gallery fund. The remaining thirty-five were provided by the Diocese of Ruse and are part of the old iconostasis of the church “St. George”. Exposition is supplemented with the works of contemporary Ruse artists  and  interpret the concept of “imaginary temple.”

The icon of the Orthodox world has a long history. It began in the first centuries of the new era and passes through the complex stages of development. With the time its cult and pictorial value increases and enriches.

The icons of the church “St. George ” were painted  in 1843. All are  works of  the some of the best masters of the Tryavna art school – the oldest Renaissance school in Bulgaria. The icons contain the signatures of the painters Zahariy Tsanyuv, Yoanikiy pop Vitanov, Koycho Dosev, Dimitar Krastyuvich. Some of them have been restored by Kristian Yankov in 2005 – 2006, with the financial support of the Municipality of Ruse under the Program for support of projects in the arts and culture.

Icons from the fund of the Ruse Gallery are three. “St. Mary on a Throne with Prophets” from the seventeenth century is an impressive model of iconographic art of the period. The next image of the God’s Mother is from the nineteenth century, and again was painted by Triavna author.  The Russian icon “Three Saints” from the twentieth century testifies to the professionalism of the masters of iconography studios in Russia since the beginning of the century.

In 2004, designed by art critic Plamena Dimitrova – Racheva , exposure assumes its final form with the works of the local artists Vasilka Moneva, Dobromir Dimitrov, Nikolay Buzov, Georgi Pasev, Daniel Kanchev, Krasimira Kirilova, Zlatka Stoykova, Tanya Paseva. Despite of the different approaches – the traditional in the terms of content and expression, and on anther – with the cleverly extracted symbolic suggestions, these visual interpretations wear expressive charge of their creators.

The collection “icon before and now” is the result of the beneficial cooperation between the board of the church “St. George “, Ruse Diocese and the team of the Art Gallery. The co-existence of different stylistic works from a large time range may be unconventional approach to the formation of a permanent exhibition, but it embodies an effort to enable every visitor to find a piece of faith and love in his heart.