The Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography, a public cultural institution functioning under the authority of the Cluj County Council, in partnership with the County Center for the Preservation and Promotion of the Cluj Traditional Culture, invites you on Friday, June 10, starting at 7 pm, to the opening of the exhibition “Monk Ilarion Mureșan, a life dedicated to the icon of Nicula”, an exceptional exhibition that marks in Cluj the anniversary of 80 years of life and 50 years of artistic activity of archdeacon Ilarion Mureșan from Nicula Monastery.
Hosted in June 10-30, 2022 by the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography, the exhibition will bring in front of the audience a symbolic number of 80 icons painted on glass, representative for the entire creation of the monk, made between 1975-2013.
The event is organized by the County Center for the Preservation and Promotion of the Cluj Traditional Culture, in partnership with the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography, the Mitropoly of Cluj, Maramureș and Sălaj, the “Assumption of the Blessed Virgin” Monastery in Nicula, and the Cluj County Council.
The opening will also mark the launch of the album with the glass icons of archdeacon Ilarion Mureșan from Nicula Monastery, a volume edited by the County Center for the Preservation and Promotion of the Cluj Traditional Culture at Cluj Traditions Publishing House.
The moment will be enriched with the recitals given by the “Psalmodia Transylvanica” Choir, led by university professor Vasile Stanciu and the professional orchestra “Cununa Transilvană” (The Transylvanian Wreath) of CJCPCT Cluj, conductor prof. Ovidiu Barteș.
Archdeacon Ilarion Mureșan had a decisive contribution to the continuation of the art of painting glass icons specific to the Nicula center. Beginning with 1972, with talent and tenacity, the father began to paint icons on the back of the glass (“glajă”), by using old Nicula sources from the 18th–19th centuries, respecting the style and color of the old peasant painters who made this center so famous. At the same time, having an innovative spirit, he gave birth to his own creations in which the Byzantine elements intertwine with those of the naive peasant painting, with emphasis on the presence of decorative elements in the composition and the insertion of details specific to the Transylvanian landscape and village. His tireless and rich artistic activity brought him recognition and appreciation, materialized in numerous exhibitions hosted by prestigious museums in the country and abroad.
In parallel, archdeacon Ilarion Mureșan demonstrated his vocation as a collector and recuperator since his arrival in 1962 at the Nicula Monastery. Through an assiduous campaign of field trips, he managed to gather, in the old monastery patrimony, icons on wood and glass, so that from about 10 old icons that the monastery had upon the monk’s arrival, in 1974 the settlement’s patrimony had reached over 700 old icons. After the disappearance of this impressive collection in the 1974 fire, the father recommenced the campaign to collect some old icons that are currently exposed inside the monastery.