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'The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy' at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi


An exhibition featuring nearly 40 works of Russian iconographers from the 17th and 18th centuries, and two modern works, is currently being held at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi.

'The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy' at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi
Mother of God Odigitria (of Suja) with saints in the background, second half 
of the seventeenth century [Credit: Museo di Roma]
The opening of the exhibition dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Order of Malta, as well as the 320-year anniversary of the first official contacts of Russian diplomats with the authorities of the island.

"The icons presented at the exhibition illustrate the major traditions in Russian iconography and its relationship with world culture," said the head of the cultural heritage Rome, Claudio Parisi Presicce, at the presentation of the exhibition.

'The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy' at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi
Christ Pantocrator, second half of the 17th century [Credit: Museo di Roma]
According to its curators, prayer, and charity, which are the main subjects of the exhibition are essential components of the Christian spiritual life in both the Orthodox and Catholic churches.

The exhibition, which will run from the 10th of October to the 3rd of December, presents 36 icons from the collections of the Museum of Russian Icons and the Central Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art named after Andrei Rublev. They are all dated to the 17th and 18th centuries, which was marked by the growing interest of Russian artists in Italian art and its wide distribution in a secular environment.

'The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy' at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi
The miracle of the Archangel Michael to Floro and Lauro, last quarter
 of the 17th century [Credit: Museo di Roma]
"We have also taken the liberty of featuring two works from the 20th and 21st centuries, showing how icons have been interpreted, while remaining in the tradition of iconography. These are the works by Vladimir Tatlin 'Composition with Transparent Planes' made of metal rods, and the sculpture 'The Great Virgin Panagia' by Dmitry Gutov," said Lydia Evseeva, the exhibition’s curator, and head of the scientific-research sector of the Museum Rublev.

Visitors to the exhibition will see the works of renowned workshops, such as 'Transfiguration', created in the Moscow Armoury in the late 16th century, and works from the Volga region, which began to develop their own unique styles of iconography.

'The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy' at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi
Venerable Niphon of Cyprus and pious Artemij of Verkola, end of the 17th century 
[Credit: Museo di Roma]
"The exhibition owes its inception not only to the anniversary of the establishment of relations between Russia and the Maltese Order, but are associated with the dialogue established between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Ahead is a very dynamic and interesting period of which we are witnesses," said Antonio Zanardi Landi, former Ambassador of Italy in Russia, one of the organizers of the exhibition.

Two spiritual maxims

"The exhibition is called 'Prayer and Mercy', the two spiritual pillars that unite both Orthodox and Catholics, and in today’s world with its complexities is more than urgent. The Catholic and Orthodox churches are no longer opposed to each other, but rather highlight their unity. Secondly, prayer and mercy is also the precept of the Order of Malta, with which this project is connected,"  said Julia Buzykin, the head of the scientific Department of the Museum of Russian icons.

'The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy' at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi
Archangel Michael, early 18th century [Credit: Museo di Roma]
According to her, the exhibition is intended not only to highlight the connection of through time, but is also associated with a rather intense period of relations between Russia and the Maltese Order, from the first Embassy of Peter Tolstoy to the granting of the title 'Master of the Order' to Paul the First .

"Most of the Russian saints were monks, and the main role of the monasteries in Russia was precisely connected with charity, the treatment of the sick, with education and helping the poor — the same as the monks of the Holy Order of Malta — that is why monks are the key figures of Russian Holiness," said Buzykin.

'The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy' at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi
Dormition of the Mother of God, 1731 [Credit: Museo di Roma]
Similar Parallels between the Russian monasticism and the Order of Malta conducted and Lydia Yevseyev, told about history of creation of the exhibition.

"We received invitations from the Russian Ambassador to the Vatican and from the Order of Malta and decided to organise a few cultural exhibitions — not only to present a few works of art — but to also to show this community of spirit between the Order and Russia," said Lydia Yevseyev.

'The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy' at Rome’s Palazzo Braschi
Miracle of St. George and the Dragon, late 17th century [Credit: Museo di Roma]
"This is the order of the monk-type. It originated in the 11th century when the first hospital was established by the Kiev-Pechersk monastery. These parallels reveal that the ideals of life were common," concluded the curator of the exhibition.

Source: RIA Novosti [October 10, 2017]
TANN

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