Russo-Byzantine Iconography Workshop Concludes

18–22 June 2012 • On-campus Workshop

Protodeacon Nazari demonstrates the creation of paints from natural pigments and egg yolk to his students.Protodeacon Nazari demonstrates the creation of paints from natural pigments and egg yolk to his students."It was spiritually uplifting to be here on St. Vladimir's Seminary's campus once more," said Protodeacon Nazari Polataiko, as he completed leading the final session of a 5-day iconography workshop. "The environment, the setting in a place of regular prayer, and the opportunity to work with a group of Orthodox Christian participants made the week a blessing for me." 

Protodeacon Nazari, who has led a workshop in iconography for the past four summers on our campus, is a master iconographer. With his wife, Matushka Tatiana, he established the Ss. Alipij and Andrew Rublew Icon Studio in 1996, in Canada. Protodeacon Nazari is a graduate of Kosiv Art School, and Matushka Tatiana is a graduate of the Vyznytcia Art College in Ukraine; additionally, PDn. Nazari has studied under such master iconographers as Archimandrite Zinon of Pskov, and Dmitri Andreyev, of the Prosopon School in New York City. The Polataikos write icons in a Russo-Byzantine style, using egg tempera and gold leaf, and employing traditional materials and techniques....following the Master Iconographer's instructions, a student creates her own paints....following the Master Iconographer's instructions, a student creates her own paints.

This past week, Pdn. Nazari helped 8 workshop members produce two traditional icons, the "Face of Christ," and the "Theotokos and Child." Taking workshop participants through the ancient handed-down steps of icon-painting—from gessoing a board, to creating paints from egg yolk and natural minerals, to layering color on the saintly figures, to goldleafing halos—Pdn. Nazari patiently taught his students and watched as brilliant images emerged from their once plain wooden boards.

Workshop participants display the fruit of their labors.Workshop participants display the fruit of their labors."In other workshops," Pdn. Nazari noted, "my students are usually not Orthodox Christians. But here, at St. Vladimir's, I have the unique privilege of working with many participants who are able to 'digest' all the information I impart about icons, without 'hiccuping'!

"That, for me," he continued, "is a unique experience. I also am glad to see students come back to me each summer for instruction; seeing their progress makes the yearly workshop all the more interesting."

Protodeacon Nazari and his wife have been writing icons for almost 15 years. Their work can be seen in several churches in Ukraine, and in numerous churches across Canada and the U.S. They can also be found in the private chapels of His All Holiness Bartholomew, Patriarch of Constantinople, Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv, Ukraine, and Metropolitan Wasylij of Winnipeg (of blessed memory).