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Xenia Pokrovsky, Iconographic Artist

Xenia Pokrovsky Once nearly lost, the traditional Russian art of iconography is enjoying a renaissance, and Xenia Pokrovsky is one of its leaders. Xenia started to paint icons in 1969 and is now a master of the art made famous by the world-renowned Russian icon painters Andrey Rublev and Dionisius. Like them, she uses only egg-based tempera and natural mineral pigments, providing a rich palette of colors that maintain their vibrancy over centuries. Icon painters usually prepare the pigments themselves by grinding natural stones or purifying clays.

Xenia started out as a biophysicist, working as a researcher for three years after graduating from Moscow University. But Fr. Alexander Men noticed her artistic talent and persuaded her to change careers in favor of service to the church. He blessed her to become an iconographer, and soon she realized that she had found her true vocation.

Since then, Xenia has achieved an extraordinarily high level of skill through her work as a restorer of 14th- to 16th-century icons held in private collections around the world. She also has painted more than 2,500 original icons (more than 500 in the United States) commissioned by individual believers, priests and bishops, church parishes (in Russia and abroad), and the Moscow Orthodox Church Patriarchy (as gifts to honored guests).

Xenia’s art is firmly based on knowledge of Orthodox theology, Orthodox Church history, and the symbolic and semantic language of iconography. Her icons can be found in many countries throughout the world, including Russia, the United States, Germany, France, Japan, and the Philippines. Her works also have been presented as gifts to Patriarch Dimitrius of Constantinople, Pope John Paul II, and American evangelist Billy Graham.

Program 607

The storyteller who founded the Louisville Arts Council, one of the top five iconographic artists in the world, and a couple who moved from California to Owensboro to teach bluegrass music to schoolchildren. (#607)


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