Origin of the popular icon is historically related to formation and development of the unique Belarusian Icon School established in the 16th century on the basis of the Byzantine art traditions on the one hand and influenced by the ideas of the West-European Renaissance on the other hand. Democratization of religious art led to formation of the so called "popular primitive" stratum and its adjacent forms, which have become an integral part of popular culture.
The popular icon had been widespread in the Gomel Region in the 18th-early 20th century. Unlike canonical painting, popular painting is more democratic both in its plot and in its technique: it is oil painting right on top of the plank without advance padding and outline drawings. The favorite decoration technique is vegetable ornament. The icons of Our Lady, of Jesus Christ, of the saints resembled particular persons and they would speak the language of feelings and emotions of the common people. Icons drawn in a popular tradition had become an integral part of interior decoration of the Belarusian peasant's log hut and of the countryside church in the 19th-early 20th century.
The exhibition held by the Gomel Palace & Park Ensemble portrays the icons spread in the territory of the Gomel (Belarus), Bryansk (Russia) and Chernigov (Ukraine) regions in the 18th-20th century. The exposition is enriched by the towels, folk dressing: it makes people feel the environment where the icon used to be in and which the icon used to be inseparably linked with.
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