I had the opportunity to visit the finest collection of Russian icons in this country, right in my own backyard practically! If you live in New England, or will be traveling here at any time, I highly recommend a stop at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton MA. The brainchild of Gordon Lankton, the collection is truly breath-taking.
Mr Lankton began collecting the icons during business trips to the Soviet Union. In the beginning, he could find them in flea markets for very little money...that's how out of favor they had fallen during decades of communism. How many generations does it take before the worth of an object is forgotten? Thank heavens Mr Lankton recognized the beauty and worth of these gorgeous pieces.
Icons are referred to as having been "written" rather than painted. I would suggest that if you can visit this museum, you sign up for a docent tour...you won't regret it. Icons are not like Western art, and you'll benefit greatly from learning how they are to be viewed. As a brief example, the frame is not to be seen as a frame, but as a window through which you are glimpsing the spiritual world. With a tour guide to give you an overview and to point out some of the details, your enjoyment of the collection will be greatly enhanced.
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