Professor of History Dr. Roy R. Robson will present “Tradition in Modernity: The Art of Pimen Sofronov” on Thursday, March 13, 2008, at 5 p.m. in Griffith Hall C. The 2008 Humanities and Social Sciences Lecture is presented by the Department of Humanities, the Department of Social Sciences, and the USP Honors Program.
Sofronov (1898–1973) was the most influential iconographer of the Russian emigration. During his long career, he worked in Estonia, Latvia, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, and the United States. His patrons included Old Believer communities, the Serbian royal family, the Serbian Orthodox Church, Pope Pius XI, the Icon Society of Paris, and many others. Over the course of his life, Sofronov amassed a large library devoted to the Old Belief, including history, art, and iconography.
Dr. Robson is a professor of history and author. He most recently wrote Solovki: The Story of Russia Told Through its Most Remarkable Islands (Yale University Press, 2004), which the New Yorker said: “Robson’s chronicle . . . is intimate enough to capture Solovki’s many sad ironies, and expansive enough to consider its place in Russian history. The result is an epic drama of spiritualism and savagery, set in one of the world’s most extreme frontier territories.”
Trained in the history of Europe and Russia at Boston College, his work has received positive reviews from the New Yorker, The Times (London), the Times Literary Supplement, and other publications. Dr. Robson believes that history can help us to understand ourselves and to make meaningful changes in the way we live. To do that, however, history must be approachable and understandable. That is why he writes for general audiences as well as academics. In addition, he has been fortunate to interpret history for “regular people” through programs at the Smithsonian Institution and elsewhere. Presently he is studying the role of iconography in 20th-century Russian Orthodoxy in the USA.