This country is approximately 98% Christian. The majority of those 98% are of Eastern Orthodox denomination. Meaning, ikons are as much part of worship, as they are of daily life and, indeed, art.
I have a complicated – or maybe just complex – relationship with religion, but I figure whatever faith you are, you can still appreciate ikons as pure art form.
“I don’t know if I should cross myself, or not,” I said at the beginning of the display, mostly to myself.
“Some do. Others don’t,” the museum attendant said, mostly to just say something.
The Good Shepherd.
Our Lady the Celestial Empress.
Two examples of St Nicholas iconography. He’s one of the more popular saints in the ROC. This one is wearing a “hat”, which means he’s the patron of winter celebrations in his name.
Our Lady Eleusa (Tenderness, or Merciful).
Bishop’s chair and staff.
A cupboard of sorts to keep the Holy Gifts in.
I resisted the urge to cross myself until the end of the second hall, until I saw the display above. I’ve done it unthinkingly in front of it. It was instinctive. Habitual, maybe. Natural, I suppose. The interesting thing, for me, is that out of all the displays of Christian art in these rooms, this particular ensemble is the most pagan-looking.
Dome cross. Something so industrial about it. Love it.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. I’ve never seen it in iconography before.
St Nicholas’s Wonder, Salvation of the Three Innocent.
Theotokos with Child.