Cardio-surgeon Petrov’s angels

Mr. Petrov’s angels have been exhibited at Minsk’s Gallery of Contemporary Art and reproduction prints are available for sale

For more than fifty years, Mr. Yuri Petrov ‘held hearts in his palm’. Now, the legendary cardio-surgeon, having headed a department at the Republican Cardiology Scientific and Practical Centre, and having launched innovations in heart surgery, including mending coronary and peripheric vessels, has taken up the brush, making him well known not just in scientific and medical circles but in those of creativity.

Yuri Petrov

Doctors who return hope to hundreds of patients tend to believe that there’s more to the miracle of saving lives than human luck or professionalism. They often mention ‘guardian angels’. Now, Mr. Petrov has taken to drawing them in oil paint, on canvas, in his small kitchen apartment.

“I’ve painted around three dozen angels,” admits the amateur artist. “Primarily these are guardian angels. However, some are dark angels, from the Bible, such as the angel of Judah. There’s also a wise angel, a prophet. Each person has their own angel. I see them, since I’m a roentgenologist,” the doctor laughs.

There were no painters in the Petrov family; Yuri’s hobby began from his friendship with professional artists and from his love of collecting. Being a connoisseur of delicate landscapes and genre paintings, he visited Minsk exhibitions, as well as the studios of his acquaintances, seeking to purchase canvases.

Gradually Mr. Petrov began to be interested in the process of artistic creation, and the internal world of painters. They appeared fascinating to him in their vulnerability, insecurity and creative ideologies, so much in contrast to contemporary pragmatism.

Mr. Petrov views Vasily Surikov as his first teacher in painting, alongside Vyacheslav Zakharinsky. From them, he learnt how to use paints and how to hold a brush. Naturally, his hand was already steady. However, being colour-blind, he had some problems with palette. His angels are painted in shades of golden-ochre and coffee shades.

Mr. Petrov’s angels have been exhibited at Minsk’s Gallery of Contemporary Art and reproduction prints are available for sale. They can’t be compared with canonical icon painting, though Orthodox icons have inspired him. He is a regular church-goer, observing all traditions, and has Orthodox icons around his home and workplace. An image of the Holy Mother Protectress hangs above the entrance to his operating room.

Mr. Petrov has worked at Minsk’s City Clinical Emergency Hospital for several years. Medicine, like painting, remains an indispensable part of his life and is the focus of desire for his soul.

By Alesya Vladimirova
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