|Manolis Betinakis "The Divine Images…"|
On October 3, 2015, the exhibition of works by the Greek painter Manolis Betinakis "The Divine Images..." was opened in the Concert and Exhibition Hall “Smolny Cathedral”.
The opening ceremony started in St Isaac's Cathedral with a joint festive prayer service with the representatives of the Cretan Orthodox Church. After the service the speeches were delivered by the Director of the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac's Cathedral” N.V.Burov, Metropolitan of Ierapetra and Sitia Evgenios, the regional adviser for culture of Greece Usulakis Constantinus, and the mayor of Sitia Theodoros Paterakis.
The second part of the ceremony took place in Smolny Cathedral that hosted the exhibition. The exhibition opening was also attended by the painter’s spouse Elena Betinaki, the priests of the Cretan Orthodox Church, and the representatives of the municipality of Sitia.
Russia and Greece, Crete. For centuries we have kept close cultural ties. As early as in the XII century the Russian pilgrims had visited the Holy sites of the island. Questions of cultural contacts had been discussed at scientific conferences in Moscow and Heraklion, several exhibitions in Crete and in Russia were dedicated to the issue. The exhibition "The Divine Images ..." was its logical continuation. It was peculiar for introducing a contemporary artist with the deepest connection to the ancient traditions of the Cretan school evident in all of his works.
The exhibition "The Divine images…" gave us a unique opportunity to see the works by Manolis Betinakis assembled from different churches and monasteries of the island of Crete. It presented 41 masterpieces, including icons, a few frescoes and two mosaics. The exhibition covered an almost 30-year period of the creative work of the iconographer. The works at the exhibition were presented surrounded by numerous photographs of the scenery of the certain part of the island, where most of the temples that the artist painted are located. They served as a documentary story about the life and work of the iconographer, accurately conveying the atmosphere of his native lands.
The exhibition was organized by the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac's Cathedral” and State Hermitage Museum with the support of PJSC “Bank Saint Petersburg" and JSC "First furniture factory".