GLYPTOGRAPHY: AN ANCIENT ART REBORN IN MODERN TIMES
Glyptography is thousands of years old and is truly considered an eternal art. Vintage, antique, Victorian or modern style - today we with pleasure recollect all the beautiful intricacies of glyptic art which was forgotten for many years.
Presumably glyptic art (the engraving of precious stones), appeared in the Ancient times and quickly developed through social and artistic transformations. Gems, intaglios and carved stones, were valued as the most fashionable and expensive adornments. As far back as the second millennium B.C. the art of glyptography was practised by the ancient Hellas. Local artists carved wonderful gems with a convent mirror image, designed for making stamps. After a long period of decadence of glyptic art, it reappeared again in Greece in the middle of the first millennium B.C. when gems became the most expensive adornments and embodied the beauty of nature.
Christian glyptic art especially flourished in Byzantium – the successor of Roman Empire. The expressiveness of ‘cameos’ (the carving of icons’ images) in combination with a very high technique of work delights people even today.
The Byzantine tradition of Christian glyptic art greatly influenced neighbouring cultures. Stone relief icons were carved in all Orthodox Slavic countries, in Transcaucasia and in the Christian Near East. There were also Byzantine workshops in Italy where talented artists made numerous wonderful works.
After the adoption of Christianity the carving of cameos-icons appeared in Kiev Rus. Although they were carved on soft types of stone, they were very expensive adornments because their production required the individual craftsmanship of an artist. Therefore only affluent groups of society - princes, boyars, the secular clergy and rich merchants could afford them.
Today a rebirth of glyptography has begun, as production of gems has been popularized by recent exhibitions of spectacular collections of this ancient art.
Sviatoslav Nikitenko, a famous glyptic artist, who lives in Dnipropetrovs’k (Ukraine) makes stunningly beautiful cameos with different materials like cornelian, axstone, topaz, morion etc. Nikitenko applies a clear polishing technique which gives the stone a special soft shine. It is a harmonious combination of plastic art and delicate tracery that gives the aesthetic and artistic value to all works by Sviatoslav Nikitenko.
Nowadays, Sviatoslav Nikitenko continues his work in the field of art, and is full of new ideas. His cameos, intaglions and icons are truly a work of contemporary glyptic art. The artist is preparing a new collection of works and is looking forward to the renaissance of the great tradition of glyptic art in Ukraine hopes that it will bring more spirituality and beauty into our lives.
By the way, cameo jewellery as well as any other item of glyptic art is not only considered to be a magnificent gift but also a rather successful investment.
Lviv’s official distributor of artistic works by Sviatoslav Nikitenko is the jewellery boutique “Kolektsiya” (4, Teatral’na str. Lviv). For more information, please call on (032) 235 68 76 or visit www.jbk.com.ua