Michaelangelo visits St.Bede’s

It took two months of 10-hour days for Ukrainian artist Ruslan Narayevskiv to create his masterpiece in the church. The 32-year-old, who was inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, started painting ceilings in Ukrainian churches at 17.

His brightly-coloured paintings depict traditional scenes including the Baptism of Christ, the Last Supper and the Pentecost. Most of the work was done kneeling or sitting on scaffolding 25 feet up but Ruslan said he never got an aching neck because he loves his work so much.

He was asked to paint the dome and ceiling of St Bedes while he was in England painting the ceilings of Orton Park in Carlisle. He said: “It is very difficult to design a dome when you have to create the illusion of someone standing straight when the ceiling is curved.

”I never feel my paintings are finished, and I have to be told when to stop.”

Now, Ruslan plans to return to his small village 300 kilometres from Kiev and rest. He added:

“I have already painted eight churches in Ukraine. This is what I want to do for ever.”

The paintings are part of a £100,000 refurbishment of the church which needed rewiring and new central heating when Father Jim Allen arrived 6 year ago. It was his idea to create the ceiling painting, which he believes is unique in the North West.

Paying respect to the original Romanesque style of architecture, the interior has been transformed from a neutral stone colour to an Italian pale blue theme with window reveals and niches emphasised with a darker blue.

The ceilings are white to reflect both natural and artificial lighting, giving covert up and down lighting without glare. Upon entering the Nave from the porch, the visitor is greeted with a veritable feast of icon paintings.

The farthest point in the Lady Chapel depicts Madonna and child.

In the apse is the Pantocrator (the ruler of the world) with Our Lady and Archangels on his right and St. John the Baptist and Archangels on his left.

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