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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Olenka Z. Pevny

Olenka Pevny
University Associate Professor in Ukrainian Studies and in Medieval and Early Modern Slavonic Studies
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 335 055

Room 304
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Olenka Pevny studies the art and culture of Kyivan Rus’ and Ruthenia. She is particularly interested in the reception and acculturation of the Orthodox tradition in Eastern Slavic lands and in the place of visual culture in narratives of national, regional, religious and gender identity.  Her involvement in conservation and preservation initiatives guides her interest on the ways in which scholars, theorists, politicians and cultural activists in the late Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and contemporary Ukraine and Russia relate to and interact with the medieval past.

Prior to arriving in Cambridge, Dr. Pevny was Associate Professor of Byzantine and Medieval Art History and Chair of the Art and Art History Department at the University of Richmond, VA.  She has worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City , in a curatorial capacity on The Glory of Byzantium exhibition, and as an archaeologist in Crimea and Greece. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.


Research interests: 

Byzantine, Rus’, Ruthenian, Muscovite, Russian and Ukrainian art and culture; archaeology; visual theory and culture; architectural history; cultural policies and historical preservation, conservation and restoration practices; Soviet, Russian and Ukrainian historical preservation theories and restoration projects.

Dr Pevny welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to her interests.

Recent research projects: 

Dr. Pevny is completing work on a monograph that studies the significant of the medieval Church of St. Cyril of Alexandria in Kyiv and the transformation in its form and decoration undertaken in the following centuries. Her current research interests include: medieval Chernihiv, confessionalism and visual culture in Volyn’ and Zhytomyr,  the Cossack Baroque, and the art and architecture of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Kyiv.

Published works: 

Articles and Essays

“The Encrypted Narrative of Reconstructed Cossack Baroque Forms,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, vol. 31, no. 1-4 (2009-2010), pp. 471-520, also published in Poltava 1709: The Battle and the Myth, ed. Serhii Plokhy (Harvard University Press, 2012), pp. 471-520.

“In Fedor Solntsev’s Footsteps: Adrian Prakhov and the Restoration of the Medieval Past in Late-Nineteenth-Century Kiev,” in Vizualizing Russia: Fedor Solntsev and Crafting a National Past, ed. Cynthia Hyla Whittaker (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 83-108.

“Погляди на минуле та реставрація пам’яток Київської Русі в Україні,” in Софіївські читання IV. Культурний діалог поколінь, (Kyiv: National Architectural Preserve “St. Sofiia”, 2009), 489-506.

“Dethroning the Prince: Princely Benefaction and Female Patronage in Medieval Kyiv,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, vol. 29, no. 1-4, (2007), 61-108.

Essay “Kievan Rus’” and twenty-five catalogue entries, The Glory of Byzantium, ed. Helen C. Evan and William D. Wixom (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997), pp.156-157, 193-194, 247, 281-287, 289-307, 313-319.

Edited Books

Майстри нашого мистецтва (Kyiv: Šučasnist, 2006).

Perceptions of Byzantium and Its Neighbors (843-1261) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).

Translations (into Ukrainian)

Aleksis Rannit, “Jacques Hnizdovsky: A Ukrainian Graphic Artist,” in Сучасність, 9 (1985), p. 204-207.

Jean Claude Marcade, “Eclipse of Objects to Liberation of Space,” in Сучасність, 10 (1984), p. 38-48.

Valentine Marcade, “Vasilii Ermilov and Certain Aspects of Ukrainian Art of the Early Twentieth Century,” in Сучасність, 6 (1984), p. 38-48.

Television Interview

“Збереження та реставрація архітектурної спадщини України” (“The Preservation and Restoration of Ukraine’s Architectural Past,” Україна Єдина – Василь Шандро (Ukraine Unified with Vasyl Shandro), taped 5/28/2012,