The Department of the Ancient Belarusian art of the State Art Museum of BSSR (since 1993 the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus) was formed on January 1, 1980. Ph.D. in art history N.F. Vysotskaya (subsequently Doctor of Science, professor, laureate of the State Prize of BSSR) headed it. Multiple expeditions of the State Art Museum of BSSR on study cult monuments of painting and sculpture in catholic and orthodox churches of the republic preceded creation of the new scientific structure. The museum organized 81 scientific expeditions, during which there was a significant number of unique works of the ancient Belarusian art. As a result of expeditionary activity the museum has got nearly 2 thousand subjects of the historian-artistic importance. Practically new collections of the ancient Belarusian painting, wooden sculpture and carving, books, decorative and applied art were formed.
The employees are concerned with the study of the main forms of the Belarusian art of the 12th–18th centuries (icon painting, monumental painting and sculpture, decorative and applied art), as well as Russian (copper casting, Russian icon, ancient publications). Several monographs and more than 200 scientific articles are published on these subjects, theses are presented.
The following catalogues are prepared for publishing: “Russian Copper Casting of the 12th–20th centuries from the National Art Museum of the Republics of Belarus collection” (E.V. Karpenko); “The Orthodox Icon of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus”. The exhibition catalogue (Karpenko E.V., Yaroshevich A.A., Trifonova N.Ya., Sysoeva L.L.); “The Altar Painting of Belarus of the 18th–19th centuries” (Karpenko E.V., Yaroshevich A.A., Trifonova N.Ya.); “Published First. The Icons of the 17th–19th centuries” (Sysoeva L.L., Yaroshevich A.A.); “Old Printed Books of the Cyrillic Print of the 17th–early 20th century from the National Art Museum of the Republics of Belarus collection” (Kireeva G.V., Trifonova N.Ya).
The specialists of the department made speeches on multiple scientific conferences in Belarus and overseas (Minsk, Polotsk, Braslav, Nesvizh, Mogilev, Novogrudok, Moscow, Yaroslavl, Kiev, Lutsk, Lviv). They are engaged in the pedagogical work in Minsk high schools: lecture on history of art and restoration, manage degree works and practice of students; render consultations on scientific themes of the department; execute art expertise by the request of the state organizations and private citizens. The employees designed cycles of popular lectures on history of the Belarusian art of the 11th–18th centuries, technology and technique of painting, history of restoration and attribution of the monuments (Trifonova N.Ya., Karpenko E.V., Sysoeva L.L.).
Aside from the main work, the employees of the department are keepers of the collection of the Belarusian icon painting (Sysoeva L.L.), sculpture (Karpenko E.V.), ancient books (Trifonova N.Ya).
The employees of the department organized exploratory work on inventory of the cult property in acting churches. Practically full scientific and evidential material (descriptions, sizes, photofixation) about artistic values, found for that period of time in Orthodox churches and Roman Catholic churches of Belarus was collected. The scientific employees of the museum and other institutions of culture from Minsk, Moscow, Grodno, Mogilev took part in expeditions: restorers, historians, photographers (director Aladova E.V., Vysotskaya E.V., Vedeneev N.N., Gerasimovich P.N., Zhurbei P.G., Karpenko E.V., Likhtarovich G.L., Senkevich E.V., Trifonova N.Ya, Usova N.M., Fedorishkin K.I., Shpunt A.S. and others).
The composition of the division at present is the following:
Karpenko E., Head of the department (June 19, 2006), keeper of the ancient Belarusian sculpture fund. She graduated the faculty of history and theory of fine arts at the I. Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture of the Russian Academy of Art. She has participated in exhibitions of Belarusian iconography in Spain, Italy and Ukraine. She is a winner of the special prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus (2007).The circle of the scientific problems: ancient Belarusian sculpture, icon painting and portrait, artistic fabrics of the Western and European manufacturing production, Russian copper casting (the album-catalogue of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus has been published), artistic metal.
Trifonova N. has been working in the department of the ancient Belarusian art of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus since 1983. She has been a keeper of old printed books since 1996, since 1997 – leading researcher. In 1978–1983 she graduated the faculty of theory and history of fine arts of the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture after I.E. Repin of the Russian Academy of Arts. When having finished postgraduate studies under the State Hermitage Museum in 1998 she defended her thesis on “The Mural Painting of Eastern Belarus of the 17th–18th centuries”.
Trifonova N.Ya. took part in scientific expeditions of the museum in 1983–1989. She prepared a series of lectures on the art of Belarus of the 12th–18th centuries for the museum lyceum. Trifonova N.Ya. is one of the few specialists in Belarus, with years of experience in medieval art. She has dozens of publications in the museum collections, and other publications, including those related to the study of individual items or groups of books from the collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus. She was involved in the museum conferences, exhibitions. Trifonova N.Ya. got advice of leading experts- bibliographers of Belarus and Russia in the course of the museum book fund cataloging.
Sysoeva L. is a leading scientific employee of the ancient Belarusian art department, a keeper of the ancient Belarusian painting collection.
In 2000 she graduated the faculty of history at the Belorussian State University, chair of ethnology, museology and history of arts. In 2008 – graduate studies at the Institute of Arts, Ethnography and Folklore of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus after K. Krapiva. She is working on a master’s thesis on “Regional Features of the Iconography of Belarus of the 16th–18th centuries”. She has a number of publications on the history of Belarusian icons.
Chaus S. is a senior researcher. He graduated the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, department of the history of Belarus and museology in 2011. In 2013 – master’s course in “Museology, Conservation and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Sites”. He was awarded the degree of Master of Cultural Studies. He studies the Belarusian historical portraits of the 16th–early 19th century.
Exhibitions prepared with participation of the department:
Works restored in SNRP M (Rostov-on-Don). Rostov-on-Don. 1981
Restoration of the museum valuables in USSR. Moscow. 1984
Restoration of museum valuables in BSSR. Minsk. 1985
Ancient art of Belarus. Saragosa (Spain). 1988
Ancient, new, eternal. Kiev. 1988
Tempera painting of Belorussia of the 15th–18th centuries. Minsk. 1988. Mogilev. 1989
State Art Museum – 50th Anniversary. Minsk. 1989
Art of the ancient cities of Belarus. Minsk. 1990
Art of the Renaissance in Belarus. Minsk. 1990
Icon painting of Belarus of the 17-18 th centuries. Yaroslavl – Moscow. 1990
Opening of the exhibition in the south-west tower of Mir Castle. 1992
Art of Brest region of the 17th–18th centuries. Minsk. 1993.
Icon painting of Gomel region of the 17th–19th centuries. (together with Vetka Museum). Minsk. 1994
Art of Vitebsk region of the 17th–18th centuries. Minsk. 1994
Art of Belarus of the 16th–18th centuries. New openings (Collection of V. Tsvirko). Minsk. 1994
Art of Belarus of the 16th–19th centuries. Discoveries of A. Ippel. Minsk. 1995
Art of Belarus of the 16th–18th centuries. Discoveries of N. Schekatikhin. Minsk.1996 (Materials to the 100th Anniversary of Mikola Schekatikhin 1896–1940. Mn. 1996.)
Artistic metal of the 16th–19th centuries in Belarus. Golshany (Grodno region). 1997
Art of Minsk region of the 16th–18th centuries. Minsk. 1997
Art of Belarus of the 16th–18th centuries. Discoveries of E. Aladova. Minsk. 1997
Art of Mogilev region of the 17th–18th centuries. Minsk. 1998
Art of Grodno region of the 12th–18th centuries. Minsk. 1998
Icon painting of Belarus of the 16th–18th centuries. New openings. Spain. 1999-2000. (Catalogue -La pintura d"icones de Bielorussia els segles 16, 17, 18. Nous descobriments. N.F.Visotskaja.
Local Belarusian icons of the Virgin of the 13-18 th centuries. Minsk. 1999-2000.
Dated monuments of the Belarusian art of the 17-18 th centuries. Minsk. 2000
Restoration and restorers. Minsk. 2000
Icon painting and carving of Belarus of the 15-18 th centuries. Minsk. 2000
Icon painting of the Belarusian Polesie (Marshy woodlands) of the 17-18 th centuries. (Discoveries of the employees of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus). Minsk. 2003
Icons of the Belarusian school of the 16-18 th centuries. Milan (Italy). (Catalogue - Icone della scuola Bielorussa. Icons of the Belarusian school of the 16-18 th centuries- NadezhdaVysotskaya.)
Belarus. Verge between sky and land. Icons the National Art Museum of the Republics of Belarus. Triest (Italy) 2004-2005. (Catalogue- Belarus" frontiera tra cielo e terra. Sania Gukova)
Nesvizh collections of the Radziwills. Minsk. 2004
Icon painting of Belarus of the 21st century. Minsk. 2004.
Spiritual shrines of Belarus (Icon painting of Belarus of the 16-18 th centuries). Minsk. 2005
Portraits from Nesvizhs collections of the Radziwills. Grodno. 2005
The Orthodox icon of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus. Moscow-Kiev-Minsk. 2008.
The Altar Painting of Belarus of the 18th–19th centuries. Minsk, 2009
Slutsk belts. Minsk, 2008–2009
Discovery of Holy Beauty. Minsk, 2011
The image of the Virgin Mary in the Belarusian icon painting of the 17th–19th centuries. Minsk, 2011; Polatsk, 2012.
Painting of Belarus of the 12th–18th centuries. Intr. article by N. Vysotskaya. Compilers N. Vysotskaya, T. Karpovich. Minsk. 1980
Plastics of Belarus of the 12-18 th centuries. Author and compiler N. Vysotskaya. Minsk. 1983
Decorative-applied art of Belarus of the 12-18 th centuries. Author and compiler N. Vysotskaya. Minsk. 1984
N. Vysotskaya. Tempera Painting of Belarus of the late 15-18th centuries in the State Art Museum of the BSSR. Catalogue. Mn. 1986
Icon painting of Belarus of the 15-18 th centuries. Author and compiler N. Vysotskaya. Minsk. 1992 (republications in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001)
Vysotskaya N.F. Sculpture and carving of Belarus of the 12th–18th centuries. Catalogue. Minsk. 1998
The Painting of the Belarusian Baroque. The author is Vysotskaya N.F. Mіnsk. 2003
Karpenko E.V. The Belarusian Art of the 12th–18th centuries. /Guide. NAM RB. Minsk, 2002
N.F. Vysotskaya and E.V. Karpenko are in the team of the authors of the latest edition: the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus. The art of the 15th–early 20th. Minsk, 2005
The Orthodox icon of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The exhibition catalogue. Authors: Karpenko E.V., Yaroshevich A.A., Trifonova N.Ya., Sysoeva L.L. Moscow, 2008
The altar painting of Belarus of the 18th–19th centuries. The exhibition catalogue. Authors: Karpenko E.V., Yaroshevіch A.A., Trifonova N.Ya. Minsk, 2009
Published first. The icons of the 17th–19th centuries. Authors: Sysoeva L.L., Yaroshevich A.A. Minsk, 2012
Kireeva G.V., Trifonova N.Ya. The books of the Cyrillic type of the 17th–early 20th century in the collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus. Album-catalogue. Minsk, 2012.
The following employees worked in the department at different years:
Barabanov K.V., Brigadnaya O.E., Sychyov V.A., Svintsova N.V., Usova N.M., Oreshko V.M., Stepanova E.V., Cheban I.L., Kireyeva G.V., Yatskevich D.L., Shpunt A.A., Karelin V.G., Ostashova I.V., Dashkovskaya T.V.