The Ethnology Notebooks. 2020. № 1 (151), 220—228
THE THEME OF THE STRUGGLE OF THE HOLY WARRIORS WITH EVIL IN UKRAINIAN RELIGIOUS ART OF THE XII—XVIII CENTURIES
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1811-8328
postgraduate, Lviv National Academy of Arts,
Kubiiovych, 38, 79011, Lviv, Ukraine,
artist restorer of II category
Lviv branch of the National Research
Restoration Center of Ukraine (LF NNDRTSU)
Ukrainian Lesya, 10, 79008, m. Lviv, Ukraine
Abstract. Background. Depictions of warrior saints of St. Demetrios of Thessaloniki, St. Eustace Placida, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Theodore of Amasea, St. Theodore Stratelates, St. George, and St. Nicetas appear in Ukrainian art with the adoption of Christianity on our lands. The spreading of their cult plays a crucial role in the life of Ukrainian folk. They were depicted as pedestrian warriors, warriors on a throne, and as horsemen. Warrior saints act as state defenders, evil slayers, and patrons of Kyivan Rus princes and Cossacks army. That is why so much attention was paid to depicting images of warrior saints in different art forms.
Problem Statement. In Ukrainian art history, researchers referred in their studies to certain saints, described the development process of iconography in the context of art styles development, paid attention to some particular art pieces from museum collections and anthologies; however, a complex study of warrior saints depiction in Ukrainian art was not put a focus on. The ones requiring research in particular are the narratives of warrior saints slaying dragons or Satan.
Purpose of the article is to follow the evolution of warrior saints images in Ukrainian art of the ХІІ—ХVІІІ centuries in the narratives of dragon or Satan slaying.
Objectives. The object of the study is the works of Ukrainian sacred art, in which the plot of the struggle of holy warriors with a serpent or Satan is presented.
Methods. The methods of the research are of complex nature and base on a correlation of a number of approaches (structure code, semiotic depiction, hermeneutic, iconological, iconographic).
Result. Based on examples of Ukrainian art of the ХІІ—ХVІІІ centuries, the narrative of warrior saints St. Michael the Archangel, St. George, St. Theodore of Amasea, St. Theodore Stratelates, and St. Nicetas slaying a dragon or Satan was studied. It was concluded that the evil slaying narrative had roots in folklore and also emerged from apocrypha and the Book of Revelation. It was also concluded that the spreading of the dragon slaying narrative was due to historical and political situations happening in our state at that time.
Conclusion. In Ukrainian culture, the emergence of dragon or Satan slaying warrior saints is caused by the spreading of apocrypha in Kyivan Rus and is also linked to the arising of a hero archetype in folk mentality as a fighter against evil and dark forces.
Keywords: warrior saints, serpent, satan, Ukrainian art, Middle Ages, Renaissance, baroque.
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