Ivan Fedorov museum in Lviv
From time immemorial Lviv has been famous for its museums: historical, artistic, literary. There are over ten state and forty folk museums. In December 1977 one more was added to the number — the Ivan Fedorov Museum (a department of the Lviv Art Gallery). Its exposition is dedicated to the Russian pioneer of printing, the founder of bookprinting in Russia and the Ukraine.
The Museum building.
The architectural complex of the former St, Onufry Monastery is dated by the 16th — 19th centuries. But the church included in it (architectural relic, safeguarded by the State) is said to have been founded earlier — as far back as the Galician Prince Lev Daniilovich (circa 1228—circa 1301). Written sources mention it from the middle of the 15th century. Through its history the monastery withstood many a siege, was burned down more than once, and was often being rebuilt. Thus the present view of the church had been formed by the beginning of the present century. The carved wooden iconostasis embellishing the temple’s interior belongs to that same time. It was created in 1909 by folk masters after the famous Krasnopushchansky iconostasis of the 18th century. The icons for it were executed by the Ukrainian painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries Modest Sosenko.
Entrance to the museum
At the entrance to the Museum we are welcomed by a bronze memorial plate with a bas-relief image of Ivan Fedorov and the text in Ukrainian: “Here in the churchyard the founder of book-printing and the Russian pioneer of printing was buried in the year of 1583”. The author of the sculpture is the Lviv sculptor Anatoly Galyan. Through the gate of the bell tower we get into a vast courtyard. To on the left of the entrance is the sculptural composition “Ivan Fedorov and His Helpers”. The 3,5 metres tall figure of the printer stands in the centre, strong and imposing. He looks reserved and composed: a hard lot had fallen upon the printer. Beside him are his associates, his faithful friends. One of them is romantic, light as the flight of a dream, he might be a poet or an artist; the other is thickset, powerful in his build — he personifies hard labour of a printer, the very making of a book. The composition as a whole is in keeping with the surrounding architecture, and towering over the adjoining buildings and dwelling-houses it is clearly silhouetted against the sky. Its author is the already mentioned sculptor A. Galyan. He succeeded in embodying the grandeur of the Printer’s selfless labour, the uncommonness of his deed.
Beginning of an exposition
The museum’s exposition proper is displayed in the former church. The documental and other materials collected here are arranged in chronological order. They reveal the historical prerequisites for the rise of Ukrainian book-printing, tell about the hard life and selfless activities of Ivan Fedorov, about the continuation of his great deed by Soviet publishers and printers. The museum’s exposition opens with the materials narrating about the beginning of book-printing. One of the stands contains a replica of the engraving representing an old printing-house of the 15th century pertaining to the times of the printing initiator Johann Gutenberg. Just then, in Germany, a printing press and a case of separate types moulded in metal were introduced for the first time into the practice of text editing. They underlay the subsequent polygraphic engineering.
In due course bookprinting spread all over Europe.
With the Eastern Slavs bookprinting was preceded by the six-hundred-year-old manuscript book tradition which had played an outstanding part in the development of home culture and education. The most ancient literary relics of the home manuscript book which have reached us belong to the times of the Kiev Russ. The best known among them is the Ostromirov Gospel (1056— 1057). The exposition presents facsimile copies of manuscript books which were in circulation on the territory of the Western Ukraine and have been preserved up to our time in the Lviv Ukrainian Art Museum. The most ancient one — Antioch Pandects — dates as far as 1307.
Towards the end of the 15th century the copying of books — a labour-consuming and costly business — could no longer meet an ever growing demand for books. Only the use of a printing-press could cater to this demand. The first shop printing books of Slavic Cyrillic script was founded in Krakow in the early nineties of the 15th century by Schweipolt Fiol. At that time he published the Oktrikh, the Prayer-book, the Lenten Triodes (Book of church-prayers), the Triodes Coloured. Printing his books in Cyrillic alphabet in Krakow, which was at that time a Catholic centre, Fiol must have meant them for Russian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian readers. These publications stood up against the forced catholization of the orthodox people. Therefore, it was not by chance that in 1491, immediately after those books came out, Fiol’s publishing house was destroyed by the Catholic capitulum and the books were confiscated. The editor himself was brought to trial by the Inquisition for “heresy”. And nevertheless, despite its short existence, Fiol’s printing-house, his editorial activity contributed to the enlivening of the literary process, to a further propagation of reading and writing among people, it became an essential factor of strengthening Russian-Ukrainian-Byelorussian ties.
Dawn of Russian bookprinting
The history of Russian bookprinting, com- plicated and irregular in its development, is closely connected with the historical fortunes of the nation, its culture as a whole. The territorial expansion of the Russian State during the reign of Ivan Grozny, the development of the country’s productive forces necessitated a substantially greater amount of books and unification of liturgical texts, elimination of numerous errors, inaccuracies that crept in due to the copyists’ fancy. Thus bookprinting in Russia became a social necessity. Its previous history goes as far back as the early attempts at book-printing. The years of 1550-s see the so-called “anonymous issues” (neither place nor year or the printer’s name is indicated thereon). Scholars presume that all of them were printed in Moscow, most likely in the years of 1553 — 1564 by the “master of printed books” Marusha Nefedyev. A notion of those publications is given by the narrow-type Gospel exhibited at the museum. Regular Russian bookprinting begins from 1564 when Ivan Fedorov and Pyotr Mstislavets published in Moscow the Apostle. The publication of this book containing the indication of the author, place and time of the issue is a most important event in Russia’s cultural life of the 16th century. This book is remarkable in every respect: editorial, technical, artistic. It is notable for its stylystic unity, harmony of its artistic design, excellent shapes of print.
Materials narrating about the life and activities of Ivan Fedorov make a larger part of the next section of the museum’s exposition. It opens with a replica of the ancient plan of the Moscow Kremlin. Among other old Russian big cathedrals it contains a small church of Nikola Gostunsky (not survived). Here, in the years of 1550-s Ivan Fedorov served as deacon. Reliable information about the early period of the printer’s life is almost unavailable. One can only surmise that he was born approximately between 1510 and 1525, learnt printing in an “anonymous” printing-house. From the afterword to the Lviv Apostle we know that in 1563 the Tsar Ivan Grozny “enjoined that for money from his, tsar’s, coffers a house be erected where printing be done”. It was here that on the 19th of April 1563 the printing of the Apostle was started. The book appeared next year on the first of March. Besides it, Ivan Fedorov, together with Pyotr Mstislavets, issued in Moscow in 1565 two editions of another book — the Book of Hours. Scholars believe that the small-size collection of different prayers was often used as a text-book.
Convinced of the importance of his vocation and the pursuit he started, Ivan Fedorov dreams of establishing his own printing-house independent of either magnates or patrons. With this aim in mind, in the autumn of 1572 he leaves Zabludov and makes his way to the Ukraine, to Lviv. Surmounting all the troubles and hardships of the journey, aggravated by "pestilence", by the end of the year the printer reaches "the famous town of Lviv", one of the largest economic and cultural centres of Eastern Europe of the time.
The enlarged photo of F. Gogenberg’s engraving after the ancient drawing by A. Passarotti gives a notion of the feudal Lviv of its architecture and its defences of those times. The indigenous population of this big town, which was a peculiar conglomeration of different peoples, endured social and national oppression. They were carrying on an unceasing struggle for the assertion of national culture in which a significant role was assigned to the book. In 1572 the Ukrainjan citizens of Lviv succeeded in obtaining the right to inaugurate a higher school. Thus, in the last third of the 16th century the conditions for printing books and establishing a printinghouse were quite favourable there.
In Lviv Ivan Fedorov took up his residence in the house of the artisan Adam Bondar (the house stood in Krakowska Street in place of the now existing house No. 4). Besides the owner’s family artisans lodged there. Most likely there was a print-shop in the house, too. At the exposition a recently found copy of the “Schoss”-book of 1573 is displayed. In books like this payments (“Schoss”) raised from the town population were registered. Among the citizens lodging in the above mentioned house and paying Schoss in 1573 a “Russian printer” (impressor Ruthenus) is recorded. Next to it are duplicates of documents dating to 1573 — 1574 (the originals are kept in the Lviv Central State Historical Archives of the Ukrainian SSR). From them we learn that the printer Ivan Fedorov was allowed to engage apprentices bound to joiners to work at the print-shop. Establishing and equipping a printing-house required means, and rather substantia] at that. So the printer was obliged to ask for help from the noble and the rich, but, as he wrote later, his "plaintive words, his tearful sobs were lost upon them and no help was obtained from the priestly ranks” and support came another way: from common townspeople, Ukrainian artisans. He made friends with suburban artisans: the saddler Senko, the tanner Yatsko, the painter Lavrenti Pilipovich Pukhala and many others. At the beginning of 1573 the printing-house was established. An approximate notion of it can be gained from the printing-press of the first half of the 17th century and the press of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, exhibited at the museum. They are the oldest of the print-shop equipment survived in the Ukraine.
The Lviv Apostle was patterned after the Moscow one. It differs only by its bigger volume and richer artistic design. At the end of the book the printer put his imprint (a branchy acanthus bough with the Lviv emblem and Ivan Fedorov’s imprint). Below it runs the text: “Ivan Fedorov, Moscovit Printer”. In this edition the printer slightly altered the engraving representing St. Luke. Its architectural shape remained the same as in the Moscow Apostle, but the image of the saint is different. The monogram ЛП (LP) on the engraving suggests the authorship of the painter Lavrenti Pukhala. The Lviv edition contains one more engraving — the coat-of-arms of G. Chodkiewicz and, which is most important, this edition is supplemented with an afterword: “A Tale of ... whence this printing-house began and how it was run”. The pages of this literary relic help the reader to fancy an attractive image of the inspired bookmaker, a man of outstanding talent.
The pioneer printer moves to Ostrog.
At the beginning of 1575 Ivan Fedorov left Lviv for the town of Ostrog in Volyn, where at that time a peculiar cultural and educational centre originated. There concentrated scholars, writers-polemicists, came into existence a Ukrainian higher school. The printing-house headed by the pioneer of printing was closely connected with the Ostrog College, with the activities of the scientific-literary society. There, in collaboration with the Ostrog philologists, in 1574, Ivan Fedorov published another Reader (ABC Book) and in 1580 — 1581 the Book of New Testament intended for family reading, the Book... by Tymofiy Mykhailovich, a firstling of native bibliography, Chronology by Andrei Rymsha, in the shape of a separate calendar leaflet, and the Bible, a masterpiece of printing, monumental in size. In the latter ornamental decorative motifs of Ukrainian manuscript book, traditions of folk art were used. Thus it is no mere chance that the Ostrog Bible became a model of polygraphic mastery for the posterior generations of printers. The Ostrog issues by Ivan Fedorov were popular far beyond the borders of the Ukraine, they were very well known in Russia, Byelorussia, Moldavia, highly appreciated in Western Europe. Striving on for independent editorship, for running a printing-house of his own, Ivan Fedorov returns in 1582 to Lviv. But his creative plans were fated to failure. Suddenly he fell seriously ill and on December 5th, 1583 he died in the house of the tailor Anton Abrahamovich. in the Lviv suburb Podzamche.
After the death of the printer his Lviv printing-house was redeemed by the Lviv Fraternity. The exposition displays a duplicate of the charter by Constantinople patriarch Jeremiah endowing the establishment in Lviv of a fraternity, with a school and printing-works. Fedorov’s printing presses, plates and types remained in use for centuries. Thus ornamental decorations of his editions can be found in many books of the Lviv Fraternity printing-works. For instance, the tail-piece (colophon) of the Lviv Apostle of 1574 was used in the book Hirmologon (Lviv, 1816), the imprint of Ivan Kunotovich (Octoikh, Lviv, 1639) was done anew after the imprint of Ivan Fedorov. Neither ceased functioning after the death of the printer the Ostrog printing-house. Ivan Fedorov’s traditions were continued by the print-shops of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra (in the 17th and 18th centuries the largest in the Ukraine); by the shops of the Kievites Timophei Verbitsky and Spiridon Sobol; the Ivivites Mikhailo Slyozka and Arsenti Zheliborsky, as well as the mobile and monastery printing-works. A number of books issued by the print-shops were found by the museum’s archeographic expeditions in villages and towns of the western regions of the Ukraine. Some of them have ornamental adornments after genuine Fedorov’s plates.
The following sections of the expositian show how the progressive book, periodicals, editions of works by the classics of Marxism-Leninism became an effective weapon in the working people’s secular struggle that led to the victory of the Great October and the building of socialism in this country.
A monument to Ivan Fedorov in Moscow
At the end of the last century in Moscow a contest for the best design of a monument to Ivan Fedorov and collection of funds for its erection were announced. It took them forty years to collect 29 thousand roubles and erect a modest monument in memory of the great man of national culture. The design was offered by a Russian sculptor S. Volnukhin. The inauguration of the monument took place in September 1909. It is interesting to note that revolutionary-minded Moscow printing workers led by the “Trade society of printing workers named after the first printer Ivan Fedorov”, with Bolshevik I. E. Lyubimov at the head, timed their revolutionary action to the event. They proclaimed their faithfulness to the great ideas of socialism and revolution, denounced the tsarist autocracy, told of hard working and living conditions of printers. In the magazine (see in display) Rus-ski Pechatnik (The Russian Printer) I. E. Lyubimov wrote: “...to us, printers, Ivan Fedorov is closer than whomsoever. We, his descendents. are successors of the cause to the development of which Ivan Fedorov served selflessly. The very life of Ivan Fedorov may serve as a prototype of the life of workers, halfstarved and wandering in search of a job”. Soon after it the tsarist censorship banned the revolutionary magazine. But no repressions could stop the growing current of. progressive literature and illegal editions, the current that washed away all obstacles on the way of the revolutionary thought.
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