Iconography Workshop

September 25 to September 29, 2018

Icon of Christ

Hosted by the Monks and Nuns of New Skete.  Instructed by Philip Davydov from Sacred Murals Studio in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Workshop description: provided by Philip Davydov

woman painting icon

 At this workshop, we plan to lead our students through the process of painting an icon, from the very beginning till the very end.  We chose this detail of an icon of Christ from Mount Sinai as the model for our workshop to let our students experience general difficulties, professional iconographers go through every day.  

Certain details of the image are unclear and we can not make any undisputable conclusions about the way it was painted. This brings a necessity to study most common methods of painting face(s) on icons, choosing one, fitting our current model the best. 

In order to understand, how our medieval colleagues made this image so powerful and spiritually strong, to find the best possible solution for this image in our circumstances, we will begin with several face drawings to understand it better and earn some self-confidence. 

Drawing on paper students will go through the form building process and learn the ways to make their image expressive and powerful. The drawing exercises will be followed by painting on boards, according to methods, used by the majority of professional iconographers of the world. During the workshop, we will dedicate certain time to many different aspects of contemporary iconography, not only technical one but also regarding the theological and practical issues. 

We always plan our workshop programs to be filled up with practical exercises and theoretical lectures, and yet we believe that in spite of the mentioned multiple tasks by the end of the workshop every student will be able to finish his or her icon. 

And thinking about post-workshop individual work. At the end the all students will receive a printed copy of our own edition, named "Iconographer's Manual", which lists all the steps, iconographer should consider making in order to create a powerful image.  

About the instructor

Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova

 Opinion of the only well-known russian art critic, working with contemporary iconographers.  Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova are one of the most remarkable icon painters in St. Petersburg. Their panel and mural painting is professional and artistic; they have developed their original style, while upholding strict canon rules and deep tradition. In the modern Orthodox art these qualities often do not blend. 

One can say that Philip and Olga typify a new generation in icon-painting in the sense that they relate to a new stage of its development. Generally, those who came to the icon-painting workshop in the 1980s - early 1990s remain under great pressure of tradition, which does not allow them to create freely. Indeed, they witnessed violation of sacred places and obliteration of the Orthodox tradition as church culture was neglected for decades. While restoring it, they venerated both sacred images and specific samples, trying to reproduce them as closely as possible to the original. Meanwhile, modern copies attain neither the depth of spirituality, nor the artistic quality of the ancient monuments. The period of replicas has been exhausted; nevertheless some iconographers persist in cloning old masterpieces. 

New generation icon painters proved to be more creative and free. Even though young artists were mastering traditional icon-painting technology, following the canons, and referring to the ancient samples, they nevertheless have quickly realized that copying, once useful at the time of studies, prevented them from creating a genuine sacred image. Based on a centuries-old tradition, it must express today's faith and acquire a language of its own. 

Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova have found their unique style, which fuses tradition and novelty, although it is clear that creative search process is incomplete and their style will continue to evolve. Philip was schooled at Andrei Davydovs workshop; his father, a priest and a well-known icon painter with twenty-five years of experience, has a distinct character and a special manner. At first, Phillip had been developing his skills within the bounds of this style, but gradually he took his own way, and every year his work becomes more and more independent. Olga has less experience than Philip; though her background seems to be not so strong, she managed to gain confidence and professionalism in several years. Today their creative teamwork produces excellent results. 

Cost, Terms, and Conditions

$1,495 includes lodging , meals, and materials

Payment schedule:
$200 deposit at time of registration
$150 per month (January - July)
Balance due in August

 The class size will be a minimum of 6, maximum of 15. 

 Fee includes:

6 nights lodging*

6 light continental breakfast at Emmaus House

5 lunches at Monks' Monastery

5 dinners at Monks' Monastery
1 Coffee Hour at Monks' Monastery

All Materials 

 *  Students are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Overflow rooms have been reserved at the Rice Mansion Inn.   (All rooms at the monastery have been reserved.)

 Due to the small class size of this workshop, the cost of hosting this workshop, and the distance the instructor(s) will be traveling, we must adhere to a strict cancellation policy. 

Your $200 non-refundable deposit must be received at the time of registration.  You may pay the balance in full at any time.  A minimum of $150 must be paid each month from January to July.  (Reminders will be emailed.)  Balance must be paid in full during August 2018.  All payments are non-refundable unless the workshop is canceled due to lack of participation. 

Should circumstances require you to cancel, New Skete will make all reasonable attempts to fill the vacancy. If the vacancy is filled, New Skete will refund all but the $200 deposit. 

Please contact us for the 2019 Iconography Workshop.


This is an advance agenda.  Subject to change.