"The Living Tradition of Icon Painting: Philip Davydov & Olga Shalamova" at the Welcome Center, October 9 – November 20, 2015

Media Contact: Curtis Prather 
Tel: 703-461-1782 
Email: cprather@vts.edu 

[Alexandria, Va.] - The Welcome Center of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) will be transformed October 9 – November 20, 2015 with icons that have been transported from Russia to Alexandria, Va.  

Representing holy beings on a flat panel has been practiced since the 2nd century, during early Christian times. Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova have devoted their lives to researching, fabricating, extending and reinterpreting this time-honored Orthodox Christian tradition.

Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova were born in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. Philip learned his trade from his father, an orthodox priest and iconographer, at a time when any Christian art in the Soviet Union was considered “religious propaganda,” and artists might have been punished for painting an icon as though committing a crime. A graduate of State Academic Institute of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg (Russia), Philip met and married Olga, a museum professional there. Together they founded Sacred Murals Studio, which has created icons and frescoes for Christian churches of different denominations in the U.S. and Russia. Since 2004, Philip and Olga have been teaching icon painting as a series of courses in Australia, Canada, Russia and the United States.

The couple has produced more than 200 icons, which reflect a centuries-old theological vocabulary and mastery of the ancient, laborious, egg tempera painting technique. The artworks of Davydov and Shalamova are not merely a reiteration of standardized types; they succeed in effectively translating an eloquent visual language so that it can be comprehended by contemporary viewers. By turns narrative or ministerial, subtle or abstract, painterly or graphic, each icon is a unique undertaking, a specific realization. The presence of these modern icons provides viewers with the opportunity to select and connect with a single, solitary image that may become a powerful conduit for an encounter with the face of holiness.  

Beginning tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 9, The Living Tradition of Icon Painting: Philip Davydov & Olga Shalamova will be on display in the Seminary's Welcome Center through Nov. 20. The exhibit is part of the year-long Immanuel Chapel Dedicatory Year, honoring the artisans. Olga Shalamova's "Icon of Incarnation" (pictured) is part of the permanant VTS collection and is installed near the south transept in Immanuel Chapel's south transept.

Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary is the flagship Seminary of the Episcopal Church. One of our first benefactors was Francis Scott Key whose poem provides the text for our national anthem. In the 191 years since being established, VTS has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington;  and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at www.vts.edu.
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