Museum of Russian Icons announces partnership with The British Museum

Press release submitted by The Museum of Russian Icons


The Museum of Russian Icons (MoRI) is honored to have been selected by The British Museum to host their online catalogue for Byzantine and Greek icons, featuring 32 historically significant works created between the 13th and 19th centuries. The catalogue (www.museumofrussianicons.org/british-museum-catalogue/) features photos and object entries generated directly from the collection database, reflecting the most current research and study of these important works.

The only museum in the U.S. dedicated to Russian icons, MoRI holds the largest collection of icons outside of Russia; and serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship through the Center for Icon Studies (CIS). This prestigious partnership is the result of a long-term relationship which started in 2010 with the collaborative exhibition Saints and Dragons: Icons from Byzantium to Russia, that featured works from the British Museum’s and MoRI's collections; a show that travelled to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Virginia in 2015.

According to MoRI CEO and Curator Kent Russell, “The Museum of Russian Icons, while only a decade old, has forged this amazing partnership with the renowned British Museum in record time. We have secured our own international reputation as a research center for the study of icons–representing the Russian, Slavonic, Greek and Byzantine cultures–with this cataloguing joint venture.”

The British Museum’s entire collection of icons, numbering just over 100 items, constitutes the largest public collection of icons in the United Kingdom. The collection falls into three discrete areas: Byzantine icons, dating from between the mid-13th to the late 14th century and Greek (mainly Cretan) icons, ranging in date from the 14th through to the 19th century; and Russian icons. Their subjects show the narratives of the Christian story, of the saints and predominantly of the images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

Well represented in the collections is art created in Constantinople during the Byzantine Empire (330-1453 AD); and important icons produced by the artists of the island of Crete, distinctive for their synthesis of traditional Byzantine forms with the new ideas of painting in Renaissance Italy, which was under Venetian control from the early 13th century up to 1669.

The majority of the icons in the British Museum are gifts or bequests, and in this respect, they reflect the tastes and interests of the various donors. One, the icon with St. Jerome, has a fascinating modern history. It was acquired by the famous Victorian connoisseur John Ruskin (1819–1900) in the 19th century, was later donated to the National Gallery in 1922, and subsequently was transferred to the British Museum in 1994. It has only recently been identified as a work by a 15th-century Cretan-trained artist, who may have painted it in Venice.

The curators of the web catalogue are Professor Robin Cormack; Professor Maria Vassilaki; Dr. Eleni Dimitriadou; and (in one entry) Dr. Dimitra Kotoula; with contributions from Christopher Entwistle, and special thanks to Professor Wendy Salmon (editor, Journal of Icons Studies, Chapman University).


ABOUT THE CENTER FOR ICON STUDIES

The Center for Icon Studies at the Museum of Russian Icons promotes the continuing study of all aspects of sacred icons. While the main focus of the museum is Russian icons, CIS takes a broader perspective. It is interested in the origin and development of icons from the Byzantine period to the modern era around the globe. CIS supports research in iconology and iconography, including but not limited to conservation, historical and comparative studies, and geo-political, religious and spiritual areas. Towards this goal, the museum website hosts the “Center for Icon Studies” which posts peer reviewed articles, unreferred articles from scholars in process, job listings, available scholarships, publishes a journal and hosts conferences; and has an extensive on-site research library that is open to scholars and students.


ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN ICONS

The Museum of Russian Icons inspires the appreciation and study of Russian culture by collecting and exhibiting icons and related objects; igniting the interest of national and international audiences; and offering interactive educational programs. The Museum serves as a leading center for research and scholarship through the Center for Icon Studies and other institutional collaborations. It is the only museum in the US dedicated to Russian icons, and it is the largest collection of icons outside of Russia.

Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday, 11AM to 4PM; Saturday and Sunday, 11AM to 5PM. First Sunday of the month: free admission! Closed Mondays.

Admission: Adults $10, seniors (59+) $7, Students $5, Children (3-7) $5, Children under 3 Free.

For more information, please visit museumofrussianicons.org. Follow the Museum of Russian Icons on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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