« 2023. # 4 (172)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2023. № 4 (172), 1023—1038

UDK [76.046.3:27-526.62](477)”15/18″




  • Candidate of Art History (Ph.D.),
  • senior researcher at Folk Art Department
  • of Ethnology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,
  • 15, Svobody ave., 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. Over the centuries, household icons have been a necessary attribute of Christian life. The method of implementing religious subjects depended on many factors, namely, the time of creation, prevailing artistic trends, the environment for which they were intended, and the availability of materials.

The purpose of the article is to systematize information about icons made graphically, as well as highlight various possibilities of their application. The object of research is the works of professional and folk engravers of the second half of XVI—XIX centuries. Territorial boundaries relate to Ukrainian ethnic lands, chronological boundaries to the specified time period with special attention to products of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The article uses the historical method as the main one in tracking the sequence of the development of the phenomenon, and the iconographic method — in order to determine the plots and understand the peculiarities of thematic repetitions. A significant part of the research was conducted on the basis of iconographic and comparative analysis. The novelty of the article lies in the comprehensive coverage of the functioning of the graphic icon as a separate genre of home icon painting.

Conclusions. Starting from the 17th century. sheet engravings were an affordable way of spreading religious subjects. The impetus for their replication was the appearance and development of book printing. Famous engravers created numerous prints depicting miraculous icons, individual saints or scenes from their lives. Along with the professional ones, there were folk masters who printed simplified versions of popular subjects. Small sheets with the image of Jesus, the Mother of God, and saints were given as gifts during prayers, and larger prints were sold at fairs, etc. For the sake of variety, woodcuts were often illuminated — in the XVII—XVIII centuries. somewhat monochrome, in the 19th century — more colorful. An important way of using prints as icons was their adaptation to wall mounting (fixation on a board, paper, placing under glass). Pasting on the board with subsequent painting of the plot and fields gave the «collage» a complete look of the icon.

Replication and distribution of graphic prints was a multifunctional phenomenon. In addition to domestic use in the form of icons, prints served as an iconographic and artistic basis for the development of folk iconography.

Keywords: sheet engraving, embossing, graphic print, folk icons-woodcuts, iconography, illuminated print.

Received 29.06.2023


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