THANGKA PAINTING. MEDITATION AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE EAST: EXHIBITION OF NICKOLAI DUDKO AT THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF ARTS
Venue: Museum and Exhibition Complex of the Russian Academy of Arts
19 Prechistenka street, Moscow
The solo exhibition of the Member of the Artists’ Union of Russia Nickolai Dudko at the Russian Academy of Arts showcases 40 works executed in the traditional Buddhist painting – thangka. Nickolai Dudko is a noted artist of thangka, philosopher and promoter of Buddhist culture. During his solo exhibition he will give master classes and share his knowledge of various thangka painting techniques and basics of meditation and Eastern philosophy.
Nickolai Dudko was born in 1962. Before his involvement into Buddhist art he studied traditional painting in Ulan Ude (Buryatia) , continued his art education in Kiev State Art Institute, but his desire to find another way in art led him back to Buryatia in 1986. The important role in the artist’s life was played by his acquaintance with the Lama of Ivolginsky dastan Darma-Dodi, Head of Tsugolsky dastan Zhimba-Zhamso Tsybenov and especially with Chogyal Namkai Norbu who became his spiritual father. Having faced the complex world of Buddhist symbols Dudko turned to the few living masters of Buryatia – carriers of the secrets of this art. The artist’s trips to Mongolia and Nepal from 1990 to 1995 contributed to his knowledge of the technique of the religious painting. For less than two years of study (1995-1997) at the Library of Tibetan Manuscipts and Archives in Dharamsala city (India) under the Reverend Sangei Eshe - personal artist of Dalai Lama XIV Nickolai Dudko finished a five-year course and received a diploma of thangka artist of the Tibetan Menri style (Men –the name of the School’s founder, ri – drawing) with the right to teach.
The execution of thangka (translated from the Tibetan - scroll) is a complicated and time consuming process requiring knowledge, special skills, accuracy and strict sequence of actions. The process of icon painting includes several stages: creation of a pencil sketch, toning, outline drawing and application of gold. The last and the most responsible step in painting of the deity is the face depiction. For the most significant icons on their reverse inscriptions - mantras of praise to the deity are made. Nickolai Dudko uses traditional materials – these are linen and cotton fabric and sometimes, for the most important images – silk.
The palette of the canonical Buddhist painting consists of five colors: yellow, blue, red, green and white having its own symbolic meaning. From the combination of these main colors Buddhist artists manage to obtain up to 25 shades. Using the combination of these colors Dudko has produced the palette of 85 shades with their own symbolism. The artist works in all the types of thangka: full-color thangka painted in five color, including gold; thangka “martan” – gold line on the red background; “nagtan” - gold line on the black background; “sertan” – drawing on the gold background (unique technique that is allowed to be used not by every artist as the gold is a special precious offering to Buddha); thangka on silk: on a thin material usually of yellow shade. It takes the artist up to one and a half years to create a multi-figure composition.