In 1901 Nikodim Pavlovic Kondakov, one of the founders of art history in Russia and a specialist in medieval art, decided to undertake a surprising expedition. Driven by a desire to see firsthand the last places where devotional images - the famous icons - were produced in the traditional way, he braved the bumpy and uncertain roads of the Russian countryside. The book you hold in your hands, published for the first time in 1901 and now available to an international audience, is in fact much more than an account of this trip. The book guides the reader through the climate of pre-revolutionary Russia, as Kondakov travels in search of local pro-duction, seeking genuinely Orthodox manifestations of an art that he saw as a direct line stretching back to the medieval past. In his very personal style, Kondakov is ultimately on a mission to save the ancient art of icons, hoping to save an art form dwindling under competition from industrial production. Today, this book is more relevant than ever, questioning the roots of Russian culture, tradition, and its feeling of exclusivity. Framed by texts from leading scholars on Russian and Byzantine art, this volume is vividly illustrated by contemporary comic book artist Michele Foletti, giving life to the stories recalled by Kondakov.
Illustrations: Michele Foletti Typesetting & Graphic Design: Anna Kelblová