Sunday, January 18, 2009

Iconography on Exhibit

This isn’t really a heads-up (since the icon show at the Museum of Russian Art ends Saturday), but I thought it might be a good time to make sure people know that this museum exists. Often the exhibits draw on the owner’s immense private collection, but the work is always fascinating and wonderfully well displayed.

The show we went to see, Transcendent Art: Icons from Yaroslavl, Russia, was great and, of course, made me want to travel to this community to see the fascinating churches for which these icons were originally created. It was also fun to compare them to the icons I saw in Egypt – most had the same stylized, slightly elongated features seen in icons there and many also had the unusually large eyes and curled hairstyles of early Coptic art. At the same time, many were dressed in elaborate robes unlike anything seen in icons in Egypt. A couple of the icons actually had faces that seemed more Russian in character – a contrast that was a bit startling, but fascinating since all of these pieces were created within the span of 100 or 150 years. Most also included a lot of architectural detail in the background, which I always find a fascinating window into the past.

If you have time this week, go over and see this show before it closes.

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