Slovo.ru: Baltic accent

2017 Vol. 8 № 1

HAGIOGRAPHY AND RUSSIA’S CULTURAL SPACE

Problems of Studying Russian Hagiography

Abstract

This article outlines the major problems of studying Russian hagiography. The author responds to the challenge of performing a comprehensive analysis of a hagiographic text, while preserving the unity of the content and the form. Considering hagiography as an ecclesiastical genre and a form of the Sacred Tradition, the author addresses the analysis methodology and proposes to combine the principles of hagiology and literary and philological research on hagiographic texts. The primary focus is on understanding the category of hagiographic topoi, which is linked to the concept of literary etiquette. This concept is examined from a polemic standpoint since it does not fully conform to the genesis and function of hagiographic topoi. It is concluded that the worldview and mindset of the hagiographer play a crucial role in the creation of a vita belonging to a particular historical period and church traditions. The author addresses the problem of studying Russian hagiographic literature of the modern and contemporary periods.

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Rhythm and Metaphor in the Art of the Icon

Abstract

Using art history interpretation methods and the methods of historical cultural studies, the author demonstrates the role of rhythm and metaphor as the most expressive artistic means of icon painting. The interaction of rhythm and metaphor is an integral part of the imagery and semantics of icon painting. It is stressed that the entire theological and aesthetic image of icons, which is based on rhythm and metaphor, expresses the cosmogonic ideas of the Church Fathers. However, the practical realisation of this image would have been impossible without the conscious creative contribution of the artist. Icon painters never perceived iconography as a dogmatic prescription. Iconography played the role of a cognitive scheme steering artists’ creative ideas. Creating visual metaphors required the development of rhythmic symmetry, based on linear repetitions and figurative semblances of elements. This principle of iconography is clearly seen in Russian icon painting.

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The Soteriological Aspect of the Murals in the Kaliningrad Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Abstract

The article explores the main principles behind modern church paintings. The author examines the key factors affecting the structure of mural paintings and pays special attention to their semantic content. The main objective of the analysis is to identify means of expressive visualisation of the Divine Oeconomy, which is the semantic fundamental of the murals’ iconography. The author employs the methods of iconographic and iconological analysis correlating with the objectives of the study. It is concluded that the soteriological aspect of mural iconography is one of the most traditional and semantically justified. It is reflected in the composition and the choice of colours as well as in the selection and juxtaposition of motifs and their correlation with the architectural elements of the Kaliningrad Cathedral. The soteriological aspect does not diminish the significance of other factors determining the iconography of the murals, i. e. the architectural design, the dedication of the Cathedral, liturgical aspects etc. On the contrary, it contributes to a deeper understanding of such aspects.

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The Intercessor Type of Marian Iconography: Icons from the Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Art

Abstract

Analysing the Intercessor type of Marian iconography, this author identifies the iconographic features of such depictions and explores the transformation that the image has undergone in the Russian icon painting tradition. To achieve this goal, the author employs the methods of comparison and generalisation and traces the transformation of the Byzantine image of Paraklesis into the Intercessor iconographic type of Russian icon painting. By examining the image in more recently painted icons, the author produces its first full description and introduces the 19th-century icon ‘Mother of God the Intercessor of the Deesis row’ from the collection of the Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Art. The results of the analysis suggest that the Intercessor type of Marian iconography is characterised by a full- or half-length image, showing Virgin Mary from a distance. She is painted without the Child and holding a scroll. The text on the scroll may vary depending on the shade of meaning the icon painter attempted to convey. However, it always communicates the message of advocacy and intercession of Mother of God for humankind before her Son.

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Spiritual Ascension in the Icons and Vitae of Female Martyrs: the Collection of the Rybinsk Museum and Preserve

Abstract

This article analyses the symbol of light and the motif of acquiring wisdom in the icons and the vitae of saints conveying the spiritual ascension of Saint Paraskevi of Iconium and Saint Juliana of Nicomedia. The common motifs in the two vitae are flagellation (whipping), death by beheading, and the punishment of torturers after the execution of the martyrs. Both vitae correspond to the Passion of the Lord. The vita of Saint Paraskevi of Iconium reveals the symbols of the Passion. It is stressed that the icons of Paraskevi the Great Martyr from the collection of the Rybinsk museum and preserve differs from the copy of the vita included in the 17th-century manuscript held at the museum.

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RUSSIAN STUDIES ABROAD

History in Transcription and Transcription as History: Charles Bally in Soviet Linguistics

Abstract

This article describes the results of a systemic study into the history of conveying the name of the Swiss linguist Charles Bally by the means of Russian transcription, in the 20th-century linguistic discussions. The author reconstructs the history of introducing Charles Bally’s works into Russian and Soviet linguistics, particularly, in the context of the publication of Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course of General Linguistics. The article analyses the variants of transcribing the name Bally in the works of G. O. Vinokur, M. N. Peterson, V. N. Voloshinov, G. K. Danilov, B. A. Larin, L. P. Yakubinsky, V. V. Vinogradov, and others. The author argues that the gradual codification of the Балли variant was a result of ideological discussions in Soviet linguistics held in the 1920—1950s.

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DEBUT PUBLICATION

The Concept of Soul: A Comparative Study of the Russian and the Armenian Pictures of the World

Abstract

The author analyses the concept ‘soul’ as a means of representing reality in the brain through comparing two linguistic pictures of the world. It is known that a concept contains important cultural information, harbouring its concrete meaning in a linguistic unit. The study — a combination of cultural linguistic and comparative analysis of the concept — suggests that certain Russian idioms containing the concept ‘soul’ have equivalents in the Armenian language. However, in most Armenian equivalents, the ‘soul’ component is replaced by the ‘heart’ mythologeme. In the Armenian language, the concepts of ‘soul’ and ‘heart’ are relatively equal in the scope of information they encode. Moreover, there are words containing the ‘soul’ (հոգի) component that do not have equivalents in the Russian linguistic picture of the world. The analysis allows the author to take a glimpse into the inner world of a native speaker. In its turn, the worldview of an individual helps to trace the century-long development of a national linguistic picture of the world.

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FIRST-PERSON

The ‘Russian Poetic Speech — 2016’ Project as a Cultural Narrative of Modern Russian Poetry

Abstract

This article presents a methodological description of the ‘Russian Poetic Speech — 2016’ narrative project aimed to identify, demonstrate, and study a cross-section of modern Russian poetry. The author addresses the foundations of the narrative project, its ideology, as well as its publication and promotion components. The article explores the mechanism for understanding and using the power of Russian poetry and addresses its ultimate goal — the creation of a new humanitarian ideology. The author proposes approaches aimed at encouraging poets to search for the goals of Russian poetry. Russian poetic speech is analysed as a coherent whole that requires new strategies for reading and understanding. The publication component of the project is a phenomenon that allows poets, readers and scholars enhance their understanding and knowledge of modern Russian poetry.

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