Icons of the Hellenic World:
from the collection of Argie and Emmanuel Tiliakos
June 22 – October 21, 2018
Icons of the Hellenic World is the first major exhibition at the Museum of Russian Icons that focuses exclusively on Greek and Byzantine iconography. On view June 22 – October 21, 2018, the exhibit delves deeply into the links and the continuity of Greek art and culture from Late Antiquity, through Byzantium, to the present.
Largely comprised of icons created after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, Icons of the Hellenic World will also feature works from the Byzantine period (330AD-1453). The earliest object in the exhibition is a rare “Portrait of Man” from Fayum, Egypt, produced in the 1st or 2nd century CE, and painted in the encaustic technique, a wax painting method practiced in ancient Greece that probably originated in Egypt. Encaustic portraits are thought to be prototypes for painting the earliest Christian icons.
The exhibition features numerous icons and objects from the Cretan School as well as pieces from the Greek Islands of the Aegean Sea, and the so-called Ionian School. This was the art produced in the Ionian Islands by Cretan artists who took refuge on these Venetian-held islands after the fall of Crete to the Ottoman Turks in 1667. The School of the Ionian Islands produced some famous and talented artists who provide a direct link from the art of Byzantium to modern Greece.
Icons of the Hellenic World comes from one of the finest collections of Greek Icons in the nation. A leading international expert in the field of Greek icons and an avid collector of Greek and Russian Icons ever since his university student days in the 1960’s, Athens-born Emmanuel Tiliakos was interested in icons long before they were considered to be “works of art” by most collectors. Collecting icons has been a labor of love, taking him on frequent travels to antiques markets all over the US and many European capitals.
Click the catalog cover above to access a digital catalog of the exhibition.
The Art of Alexander Gassel
May 20, 2018 – January 6, 2019
The Museum will be exhibiting the contemporary paintings of Russian-American artist and designer Alexander Gassel, May 20, 2018 – January 6, 2019. Blending the avant-garde with traditional Russian iconography, combining ancient symbols with contemporary subjects, Gassel creates surrealist works that reflect his cultural heritage alongside his experience of life in America.
Gassel’s painting style is derived as much from icon painting as it is from his discovery of the early 20th Russian painters such as Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, and Kazimir Malevich. During the Soviet period, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and other stylistic European trends were suppressed. Gassel (1947), who was born and raised in Moscow, describes seeing the works of Chagall and Malevich surreptitiously in storage areas of Soviet museums. Additionally, it was absolutely forbidden in the Soviet Union to exhibit contemporary religious paintings.
In his work, Gassel uses ancient techniques employed in the creation of icon paintings. He paints with egg yolk tempera, making his own color pigments by grinding natural stones and minerals, such as malachite, cinnabar, or lapis into powder, which he then mixes with egg yolk. The artist often applies gold or silver leaf on the paintings.