The first graduates are leaving the International School and Lab of Russian Icons' Restoration in Peccioli, Toscana, Italy. Yesterday, the first 10 students who had been taught by professional icon restorers from St. Petersburg's State Russian Museum received their diplomas signed by Renzo Macelloni, the Mayor of Peccioli and Vladimir Gusev, Director of the State Russian Museum.
According to Daria Maltseva, Director of the International School and Lab of Russian Icons' Restoration, the first graduates followed the four-month programme of study. Besides undergoing a special course for icon restorers, they were schooled in painting new icons and learned the history of Russian icon art. The top students of the class of 2002 will go for practical study in the restoration lab of the State Russian Museum. The new class will begin in October 2002, its term one month longer.
The idea of creating this school belonged to the administration of Peccioli. Mrs. Maltseva said its opening had been preceded by the creation in October 2000 of the first in Italy museum of Russian icons. The Peccioli school and restoration lab opened in 2002. Mrs. Maltseva said she had seen lots of icons restored by German and Dutch artists. 'Al these Icons looked good and ready for sale', she noted, 'yet completely lost their original essence'. St. Petersburg's restorers believe a restored icon must not look like it was painted yesterday. Everything added is done in easy to remove water colours. If any details are lost, the restorer must in no case repaint them anew.