Peipsi Old Believers: Icons and Grafics of Pavel Varunin

2.12.2017 – 30.04.2018

The exhibition showcases the faith, the lifestyle and the age-old traditions of the Old Believers in Estonia as reflected in the art of our contemporary, Pavel Varunin.

Pavel Grigoryevich Varunin (born on 12.06.1961 in the city of Tartu, Estonia) is the head of the Association of Old Believers’ Parishes of Estonia and for many years was also the chief encourager and organiser of numerous events dedicated to the studies and preservation of the culture of the Old Believers’ communities.
He is also known as a professional artist in Estonia and far beyond its borders. Pavel Varunin carves wood, restores old icons, designs publications and creates graphics in the traditional Russian form – that of coloured woodcuts.

Our exhibition features Pavel Varunin’s carved icons and coloured woodcuts depicting sacral and daily life themes.

Coloured woodcuts appeared in the 18th century in Old Believers’ communities. With unsophisticated but colourful pictures accompanied by short texts, this form of graphic art told the simple folk about vital things that caused concern or joy at that time, reminding them about what mattered most: the pillars of faith and the traditions of piety. Like any other type of engraving, coloured woodcuts were meant to be distributed in many copies and became widely popular among peasants.

The stories of Pavel Varunin’s coloured woodcuts are a homage to the traditions of past centuries. Here every visitor can find something of personal interest: delicate irony and humour, daily life scenes, folk wisdom, Biblical plots and the history of the Orthodox Church.

Please also note the items in the display cabinets as they represent an inseparable part of the Old Believers’ religious life.