Angelic Exhibition at the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, MA
The Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, MA is the largest institution dedicated to preserving and cherishing the unique art of icon painting in the United States. As for the current expositions of this museum of Russian icons, the most captivating event is an exhibition of marvelous icons painted by the students of the Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography. The show is titled “Wrestling with Angels.” It is on display through October 20.
The Russian Icon Museum in Clinton has introduced over forty pieces of modern religious art created by icon painters of the Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography. The icons presented at the exhibition are executed in the Russian-Byzantine iconography style of the 15th-16th centuries. These divine artworks were composed by the School’s founder Vladislav Andrejev, as well as his most devoted disciples and few other iconographers.
A native of Russia, Vladislav Andrejev founded the Prosopon (the term of Greek theology, understood in the iconological sense as “the image of God”) School in 2000 in the United States. This School of icon painting teaches not only iconography as an artistic craft but also theology. Currently, permanent studios organized by icon painters of the School exist both in the USA and Russia. The founder of the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, MA, Gordon Lankton, contributed to the organization of the “Wrestling with Angels” exhibition.
The title of the exposition correlates with the opening art piece. This exquisite icon depicts one of the most famous plots of the Book of Genesis, which involves the patriarch of Israelites, Jacob. In this biblical story, Jacob fights, presumably, an angel. The identity of Jacob’s adversary is the subject of much controversy because each of the existing religions provides its version – an angel, a mystical vision, a spirit-protector of the river, or even God Himself. This refined celestial painting, which is now being shown at the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, MA, reflects the unwavering faith and sincere repentance of Jacob, who fought with the angel all night, begging to bless him. The patriarch was able to endure the battle with an enigmatic opponent, despite moral and physical pain. Jacob earned not only the forgiveness of the angel (or was it God?) but also received a new name – Israel. In Hebrew, it means “fight with God.”
Besides, the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, MA exhibits icons depicting Jesus Christ, the archangels, the saints, and the prophets, including John the Baptist. All these religious works of art are created in the similar Byzantine-Russian style, following the iconographic canon of the masters of Novgorod and Moscow schools of the 14th-16th centuries.
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