Murals on the walls in the Church of St. Ambrose of Optina near St. Petersburg (Russia) in the village of Polyany. The 1300 sq. m. painting has various Gospel and Biblical themes. The painting was created from 2010 to 2013. The Church of the Russian Orthodox Church, operating.
From 2011 to 2014, I worked on creating a mural of the Orthodox Church of St. Ambrose of Optina near St. Petersburg. This temple is located 100 km from St. Petersburg in the most beautiful natural landscape places - around beautiful azure lakes, meadows, and forests. This temple belongs to the famous Russian Orthodox monastery “Optina Pustin", which has its centuries-old history. But the temple itself is new, it was erected in the early 21st century, although the type of architecture of the temple is quite canonical for the Orthodox Church.
"The Abbot and the monastic community has been looking for an artist who will be the author of the picturesque filling of the temple. Thus, I was invited to make sketches of the mural project and to take part in the competition with other candidates. As a result, after the end of the competition and discussions, they decided on my candidacy."
"After the necessary preparation, I started working. I felt very responsible for the result because this was the temple of God, the House of prayer to God! I had to be ready for this work, both from a professional, artistic, and spiritual point of view."
"For three years I worked alone on the walls of this temple. The total area of all the monumental paintings was about 1300 sq. m. I used all the architectural internal elements of the temple for the paintings – the dome space, the vaults, the altar, the Central Hall, the narthex, the baptismal hall, and the entrance groups. The height of the temple from the floor to the dome is 28 meters. As a result, internal horizontal storylines were created around the entire temple (a story grid of paintings), as well as groups of ornaments. I tried to create a harmonious ensemble of all subjects and ornaments - both in terms of Theological interpretation and color rendering. I also wanted to embody the harmony of the surrounding nature and the architecture itself."
"I wanted to create a festive, bright, airy, picturesque decoration of this Church with important Theological compositional centers. I wanted the painting to be joyful and enveloping. There are three main levels in the temple. The first level, the upper one, is dedicated to Biblical stories and selected saints. The second, middle level is dedicated to the main Gospel stories and the earthly life of Christ. And the third, lower level – the subjects of the Church of different epochs and selected saints. The paintings are also divided into groups corresponding to the cardinal points, and each such group has its Theological meaning and interpretation. Some elements of decoration are also built into my paintings – grilles, handrails, stained-glass windows, carved gates and doors, lamps, chandeliers (panicadila), and of course the altar screen (iconostasis)."
"In my paintings, I wanted to combine the centuries-old experience of Church art and unshakable iconographic canons with modern compositional elements and technologies of monumental art-tradition and modernity.
During the entire period of work and preparation for it, I received a huge experience of spiritual communication and immersion in thoughts about life and prayer. This was a very important experience in my life and my work, and I have been using this experience ever since.
Services have been held in the Church since 2015. And the paintings became very famous. Pilgrims and tourists from all over the world come to the Church to see them."