Friday, 4 January 2013

Mother of God Korsunskaya

I first saw a picture of the Umilenie or Korsunskaya in the mid eighties. The facial expression and the unconditional love between mother and child made a deep and lasting impression on me. I am trying to recreate that impression.
This is a Bulgarian Umilenie, from Backovo Monastery.

I made the icon board from our old kitchen counter in 2009, and then the process came to a halt. Still, the Korsunskaya never left my thoughts, so I started sketching (for a second time) on New Year's 2012. I intend to work on it every day, and let myself be surprized by the process itself.

The "towel" is called a rushnik [рушник - towel] in Ukranian or a salfetka[napkin] in Russian . This one comes from Kiev.
Excellent information with good photographs on salfetki/ruzhniki can be found on

Main page:

Still from Brothers Karamazov [Mosfilm 1969]

Why bother copying?

He [Birkin] had taken a Chinese 
drawing of geese from the boudoir, and was copying it, with 
much skill and vividness. 

"You are copying the drawing," she [Hermione] said, standing near the 
table, and looking down at his work. "Yes. How beautifully 
you do it! You like it very much, don't you?" 

"It's a marvellous drawing," he said. 

"Is it? I'm so glad you like it, because I've always been 
fond of it. The Chinese Ambassador gave it me." 

"I know/' he said. 

"But why do you copy it?" she asked, casual and sing-song. 
"Why not do something original?" 

"I want to know it," he replied. "One gets more of China, 
copying this picture, than reading all the books." 

DH Lawrence, Women in Love

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