Woodcarved Icons

Woodcarved Icons
by John Solowianiuk

On display January 12 - March 27, 1998.

The Marian Library Gallery
seventh floor of Roesch Library
University of Dayton
8:30 to 4:30 M-F
Tel.: 937-229-4214

All works displayed are
copyrighted by the artist.

The Artist

John Solowianiuk started carving wood at a young age, making animals and toys to trade with playmates. In 1969, he graduated with a degree in art from The University of Mikaloj Copernicus in Torun, Poland. He pursued art in the medium of oil painting, not applying his woodcarving talents until 1980 when he was commissioned to paint icons and carve the iconostasis (altar screen) for Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in his hometown of Hajnowka, Poland. Although asked only to paint the icons, Mr. Solowianiuk decided to carve one. That first icon started a new career for Mr. Solowianiuk, who revived the Eastern European tradition dating from the twelfth century and established him as one of the best woodcarvers in Europe.
Mr. Solowianiuk's tools include a variety of knives, chisels and files. He works in bass wood, dyeing and gilding the carved icons, sometimes leaving unstained areas, revealing the natural beauty of the wood.
In 1990, Mr. Solowianiuk moved to the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Churches in the United States in which his work may be viewed are St. Stephen's Ukrainian Church in Brunswick, Ohio; the Belarusian Orthodox Church in Cleveland; St. Mikolay American Orthodox Church, Byzantine Ukrainian Church of Pokrova, and Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church, all in Flint, Michigan.
In 1996, Mr. Solowianiuk was an exhibiting artist at the National Folk Festival in Dayton, Ohio.

The Belarusian Icon Tradition

The Belarusian carved icon tradition dates back to the icon of Saints Constantine and Elena from the twelfth century in Polocak.
Because of wars in the late 1700s the icon-carving artists migrated to Russia. Subsequently, these icons earned great acclaim there.
In 1722 and 1832 the Russian Orthodox Synod issued directives which prohibited sculpture in the churches. These directives are still in force today. Icon carving effectively ceased. However, the churches in the United States allow this art form to be used within their architecture.


[Mother of God of Ilige]
< Mother of God of Ilige
LEBANON, 24"x 18"

Mother of God of Czestochowa >
POLAND, 24"x 18"

[Mother of God Czestochowa]
[Mother of God Jerusalem]
< Mother of God Jerusalem
FINLAND, 24"x 18"

Mother of God of Wladymirsk >
RUSSIA, 20"x 16"

[Mother of God Wadymirsk]
[Mother of God of Kursk]
< Mother of God of Kursk
RUSSIA, 24"x 18"

Mother of God of Minsk >
BELARUS, 24"x 18"

[Mother of God of Minsk]
[Mother of God of Kiev]
< Mother of God of Kiev
UKRAINE, 24"x 18"

Mother of God of Kxerson >
GREECE, 20"x 16"

[Mother of God of Kxerson]
[Mother of God of Krki]
< Mother of God of Krki
SERBIA, 20"x 18"

Mother of God of Prodromita >
ROMANIA, 24"x 18"

[Mother of God of Prodromita]
[Coptic Icon]
< Coptic Icon
EGYPT, 24"x 18"

Mother of God of Damascus >
SYRIA, 24"x 18"

[Mother of God of Damascus]
[Mother of God of Chernobyl]
< Mother of God of Chernobyl
BELARUS, 22"x 14"

Mother of God of Vilnius >
LITHUANIA, 29"x 19.5"

[Mother of God of Vilnius]
[The Adoration]
< The Adoration
ITALY, 17"x 24.5"
For more information, please contact:

University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio
Telephone: 937 - 229-4214

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