National Museum of Fine Arts: Ikons, a Permanent Display.

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.

I smiled.

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The Good Shepherd.

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Our Lady the Celestial Empress.

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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.

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Our Lady Eleusa (Tenderness, or Merciful).

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Bishop’s chair and staff.

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A cupboard of sorts to keep the Holy Gifts in.

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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.

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Gospel.

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Dome cross. Something so industrial about it. Love it.

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The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. I’ve never seen it in iconography before.

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St Nicholas’s Wonder, Salvation of the Three Innocent.

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Missal.

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Theotokos with Child.

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