The Prosopon School of Iconology introduces students to the practice and theory of the ancient Christian art of icon-writing in the Byzantine-Russian tradition. Apprenticeship in this discipline of the hand, mind, and heart can lead beyond technical competence; the method of study promotes the incarnation of the principles of the painting experience into all aspects of one's life. In accordance with the Orthodox Church’s teaching that Icons are the ‘Gospel in light and color’, the Prosopon School welcomes inquiring students from all backgrounds. The School additionally encourages the search for a more profound experience of icons by means of exhibits, lectures, and the publication of the journal Prosopon.
The founder of the school, Vladislav Andrejev, began teaching iconography in 1985. Over the years Vladislav’s iconographic technique and teaching method have undergone development and refinement. As a result, a distinct "school" of painting and interpretation has evolved, which strives to be a continuation of the ancient Russian-Byzantine tradition as well as a contemporary step in its living development. On July 4 (St. Andrei Rublev) 2000, the Prosopon School of Iconology received the blessing of Peter, (now reposed)Archbishop of New York and New Jersey, and of Theodosius (former) Metropolitan of all America and Canada.
ICONOGRAPHIC STYLE and METHOD
|The ancient Russian-Byzantine tradition of icon-writing reached its apogee during the XV century. Today, the iconographer within the School attempts to produce icons reflecting the same state of inner, contemplative depth evident in the greatest examples of that tradition, through refinement of artistic nuance and attention to the iconographic canon and principles. As is fitting to the icon’s sacred function, only natural materials are used: wood panels gessoed with natural ground, genuine gold leaf applied by the bole method, egg tempera using ground pigments, and linseed oil finish. The iconographic method of the School is characterized by a multi-step process in which the succession of steps is concrete and definite, as are the liturgical services of the Church. Although striving for a high artistic level, the focus of the icon-writer is nevertheless on personal spiritual discipline and growth within the guidelines of Orthodox Church teachings.|
The School offers intensive week-long workshops in various locations throughout North America, as well as ongoing classes in the instructor's studios. Students are introduced to iconology: the practical and the theoretical aspects of the iconographic tradition. Explanations of iconographic symbolism and the theological base of each step of the process are presented parallel to the technical instruction. No artistic experience is required of the beginning student. The Prosopon School does not hold the preparation of professional icon-writers as its foremost purpose, although such a possibility is not excluded. The main goal of study is rather to cultivate a clearer consciousness of the uncreated Image of God according to which man was created, and to understand the various "layers" of created life, drawing on Scripture, Tradition, and Patristic thought. The student is reintroduced to the teaching of the Church through the language of light, color, image and symbol. Through the language of iconographic symbolism, the student moves toward a clearer vision of the Divine, of him- or herself, and of the world. By writing an icon according to the divine canons, the student works towards the re-establishment of the original condition of man’s tarnished image.
The Prosopon School of Iconology was founded by iconographer Vladislav Andrejev, who was born in 1938 in St. Petersburg, Russia. After receiving a formal education in fine art, Vladislav became interested in religious art, which was impossible to practice during the Soviet regime. The search for deeper meaning in art and life led him to solitary travels in parts of the Russian wilderness, and to the independent study of icon and fresco painting with a monk icon-writer. In 1980 Vladislav emigrated to the United States. He has written numerous icons which can be seen in many churches and homes throughout America and the world. Vladislav has been teaching iconography since 1985, during which time thousands of his students have been introduced to this ancient Christian art. Over the years Vladislav’s iconographic technique and teaching method developed into a distinct school of painting and interpretation. In 2000 he formally established The Prosopon School of Iconology with the blessings of his hierarchs, to promote this method and to promote the understanding of iconography and iconology. Vladislav lives in Whitney Point, NY with his wife Olga where they are visited by their children, Dmitri, Nikita and Melania, and their growing number of grandchildren, as well as by students from all over the world. Vladislav currently is working on a book about iconology and a dvd on iconographic technique.
In 2004, Vladislav and his son Dmitri, with the help of several of his students, painted the dome of St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in St. Michael, MN. One of his students, Yevgeniy Vaskevich, made a short film about that project.
This documentary is a meditation on the concept of family. Filmed in an orphanage run by three Orthodox nuns in Guatemala City, Familia presents interviews with the nuns, overview of traditional icon painting done by the Prosopon School of Iconology, and portrays the lives of the orphans.
An excerpt from dvd "Angel Hesychia: Advanced Techniques", where Vladislav Andrejev speaks about theological meaning of step of Gesso.
WHAT IS ICON
An excerpt from dvd "Theoria"
Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography 2012©