PAST EXHIBITIONS

HOLY FOOLS TO WONDER WORKERS: SAINTS OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH

November 19, 2016–February 26, 2017

Holy Fools to Wonder Workers will feature 30 icons from the Museum’s collection that are not regularly on view. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to explore different types of saints celebrated by the Orthodox Church, from Prophets of the Old Testament to the Monastics living in rural Russia. Popular saints such as Nicholas and George will be shown alongside those who are lesser known but equally fascinating figures. There is Simeon the Stylite, who lived for many years atop a pillar, and Saint Mary of Egypt, a repentant sinner who lived alone in the deserts of Egypt.

Saints play an integral role in the Orthodox Church: they serve as models of Christianity and are believed to function as intercessors, forming a link between the secular world and the holy. In the early days of Christianity saints included biblical figures, Church leaders, and the growing ranks of passionate Christians who willingly died for their faith. As the Church grew, people were remembered for their great piety and works of faith.

A saint is recognized within a localized region long before the Holy Synod and Hierarch begin the formal process of Glorification, also called Canonization. The Glorification process involves an investigation of the holy person’s life, any of their writings, and of any miracles attributed to them. After this process, the life of the saint is officially recorded, an icon is created, and an annual Feast Day is set, often the date of the saint’s death.

Each day of the Liturgical Year commemorates several saints; some are celebrated internationally while others are only remembered in small communities. Monarchs and peasants, warriors and monks alike have found places in the lists of the Church and the hearts of the faithful.

IN COMPANY WITH ANGELS: SEVEN REDISCOVERED TIFFANY WINDOWS

July 14 – October 16, 2016

“Angels Representing Seven Churches,” the central element of this exhibit, is a set of free-standing, eight-foot tall, windows created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1902 at Tiffany Studios in New York City. Originally commissioned for a church in Cincinnati, the seven windows depict angels which are almost life-size, illustrating passages from the Bible’s Book of Revelation. Although they form a set, each angel, named according to their Biblical reference, has different characteristics—and a unique personality—depicted in glass through the artistry of Tiffany Studio.

As an estimated half of Tiffany’s church windows have been lost, the tour of this full set of seven rediscovered windows is a unique opportunity to appreciate both Tiffany’s art and his craftsmanship in an intimate museum setting. But more than an artistic tour de force, and more than an interpretation of a set of biblical passages, the story of the Seven Angels weaves together history, art and spirituality. The exhibit includes not only the dramatic Tiffany windows, but is also supported by interpretive text, illustrations, and music.

TOYS, TRINKETS, AND TREASURES: THE STORY OF THE NESTING DOLL

February 11– June 26, 2016

Russian Matryoshka dolls, often painted to depict peasants, have become an icon of Russian culture. The bright colors, distinctive shapes, and the imaginative concepts have delighted generations of children and are thoroughly recognizable to young and old alike. The Museum of Russian Icons unveiled its newest addition, a collection of nesting dolls from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Japan and other countries. These dolls came to the Museum through the generosity of collector Pamela Kruskal who gifted 370 sets in the summer of 2015. The collection contains the story of the nesting doll which extends well beyond the well-known Russian dolls of the 20th century.

DISCOVERING ST. NICHOLAS

November 20, 2015–January 23, 2016

The traveling exhibit Discovering Santa Claus originated from the St. Nicholas Center in Holland, Michigan. The exhibition showcased a vast collection of art, icons, symbols, toys, statues and other treasures from around the world.

FEASTS: EARTHLY CELEBRATIONS OF HEAVENLY EVENTS

September 26–November 7, 2015

This exhibition showcased more than 30 rare icons depicting significant Russian Orthodox feast days, commemorating the annual cycle of holy days, the veneration of saints and the Church’s twelve major feast days.

BYZANTIUM TO RUSSIA: THE ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIAN ICONS

Featuring icons from London’s British Museum
May 2– September 12, 2015

Byzantium to Russia was curated by Gordon B. Lankton, Dr. Raoul Smith and Kent dur Russell, and organized by the Museum of Russian Icons. A selection of 35 icons and 30 objects from the British Museum traced the stylistic development of sacred art from the center of Christian civilization to the introduction of Christianity to Russia. The show included icons as well as Byzantine cast metal objects, ivories and engraved gems. This is the first time that the British Museum, London, has lent St John the Baptist (Constantinople c. 1300) and the famous St George and the Dragon (known as the “Black George” Novgorod late 14th century).

THE VIBRANT ART AND STORIED HISTORY OF ETHIOPIAN ICONS

60 Icons & Artifacts from a Private European Collection
January 23–April 18, 2015

The Vibrant Art and Storied History of Ethiopian Icons illustrated the Christian traditions of this legendary East African nation. The exhibition featured 60 small-scale icons, triptychs, and illuminated manuscripts from the 16th century to the present. Several cast-brass processional crosses with intricate designs from the Museum’s own collection, as well as some small pendant crosses fundamental to sacred vestments, icons and a stone-carved triptych were also included.

SIBERIA IMAGINED AND REIMAGINED

September 13, 2014– January 10, 2015

From the everyday to the bizarre, 130 unique and powerful photos by Russian photographers. This exhibit brought photographs of Siberia by Russian photographers to the American public for the first time. Countless images of Siberia by non-Russian photographers have been published and those depictions have shaped perceptions around the world. Siberia Imagined and Reimagined offered an insider’s view.