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Ukrainian art and architecture

The Dumbarton Oaks Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives hold images of Ukrainian art and architecture across three separate collections

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives hold images of Ukrainian art and architecture across three separate collections. The Byzantine black & white mounted photograph collection and the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine color photograph collection are two collections curated over decades by Dumbarton Oaks staff with the aim of creating a visual encyclopedia of the Byzantine world. Together they include over 900 images depicting architecture, inscriptions, mosaics, frescoes, and artifacts in Ukraine.

The photographic collection of art historian Natalia Teteriatnikov, acquired in 2018, includes approximately 150 slide photographs of the mosaics and frescoes of Hagia Sophia and other monuments in Kyiv. Teteriatnikov took these during her visit to Kyiv in the early 1970s. Hagia Sophia was founded by the grand prince of Kyiv and Kyiv Russ, Jaroslav, in 1937 and it was richly decorated with mosaics and frescoes. Mosaics are located in the dome, vaults, apse, and the sanctuary area, whereas frescoes adorn the walls of the naos and gallery. The naos frescoes include Jaroslav’s family portraits.

The Teteriatnikov collection also includes a collection of glass plate negatives and contact prints of bronze crosses and icons from the B. I. Khanenko (1849–1917) and V. N. Khanenko (née Varvara Tereshchenko, 1852–1922) collection in Kyiv, Ukraine. The glass negatives were probably made between 1900 and 1917 for the third volume of a catalog by the Khanenkos, on crosses in their collection—Drenosti ruskīi͡a: kresty i obrazki = Antiquités russes: croix et images. Unfortunately, the third volume was never published due to the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. The collection of bronze crosses and icons disappeared from the museum sometime during World War II. Vladimir Mikhailovich Teteriatnikov (a conservator and husband of Natalia Teteriatnikov) had an interest in Medieval crosses and icons, and on a trip to Kyiv in 1967 he inquired with museum staff about the unpublished third volume. He was told that the negatives for the third volume could still be in the house of the nanny of the Khanenko family. Teteriatnikov visited the nanny, who found the negatives in the attic and gave them to him. Teteriatnikov made prints from the negatives and took a photograph of B. I. Khanenko’s grave in the Vydubitsky monastery, Kyiv, all of which he included in a handmade album. The album of bronze crosses and photographs of Hagia Sophia in Kyiv was digitized in 2022.