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Trio Of Entrancing Exhibitions On View At The Museum Of Russian Icons This Fall

New exhibits underscore the museum's commitment to exploring many facets of Russian and Slavic history and culture.

Trio Of Entrancing Exhibitions On View At The Museum Of Russian Icons This Fall

The Museum of Russian Icons announces an exciting schedule of exhibitions opening this fall, underscoring the museum's commitment to exploring many facets of Russian and Slavic history and culture.

Holy Helpers: Folk Icons of Peasant Russia (1861-1917)

October 20-February 13, 2023

Holy Helpers examines rarely exhibited Russian folk icons from the Museum's and other private collections and explores the icon's function in daily life. Notable for their warm-heartedness and innocence, these folk icons give a rare insight into a little-known area of religious art.

Russian peasants were deeply devout, and the icon served to protect the family from the trials and tribulations of their harsh existence. The Orthodox peasant home, simple yet practical, would always feature a home altar where the family would display their icons. Known as the Beautiful Corner, this altar would serve as a spiritual focus of family life. The exhibition will feature groupings of icons of particular importance to the peasant, including Saint Nichols, Saint Nil, and Saint Seraphim of Sarov. The exhibition is curated by Dmitri Gurevich, a scholar who specializes in the research and attribution of artifacts pertaining to the Christian faith.

Tree of Life: Russian Birch Through the Ages

November 10, 2022 - January 29, 2022

The birch tree serves many purposes in Slavic culture - it is a versatile material for traditional crafts, an ancient symbol of sorrow and renewal, and a representation of the Russian land and people. Centered around six unique icons created by artist Vladimir Tulyak from layers of birch bark, this mini-exhibition combines representations of birch in Russian art, poetry, and craft. Seen together, these works create connections between the traditional, pagan roots of the birch motif and its later uses in Christian belief and contemporary Russian life. Curated by Simone Tricca.

Swan Lake: 145 Years of History and Triumph

An exhibition of photographs, costumes, and historical documents from a private collection

November 10, 2022 - January 29, 2022

The stunning image of ballerinas in white tutus dancing in unison enchants audiences across the globe. Yet, when the ballet was first staged in Moscow in 1877, Swan Lake was met with a tepid response and many critics felt the production was indistinct and forgettable; composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's inventive and intricate composition was deemed noisy and undanceable. Twenty years later, in 1895, a fully-realized production mounted by St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre generated a new appreciation, helping to shape it into one of the world's most famous ballets. A compelling story of tragic love set to a glorious score; Swan Lake has come to be known as the quintessential classical ballet.

As part of an educational project, "Ballet of the 20th Century," organized by collector Yana Veselova, this mini-exhibition works to preserve the memory of the choreography and ballet dancers of the 19th and 20th centuries through original black and white photographs, costume pieces, and theater playbills from France, Russia, Australia, England, and the United States; featuring famed dancers such as Maria Tallchief, Alexandra Danilova, Frederic Franklin, Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Anthony Dowell, Antoinette Sibley, and more.


Images of Atheism: The Soviet Assault on Religion

Through October 2, 2022

Images of Atheism explores the role of visual propaganda in the Communist Party's seven-decade war against religion (ca. 1920- 1990). With their eye-catching design, strident slogans, and stereotyped characters, the posters and publications of Soviet atheism demonized the world's religions and jeered at those who practiced them. Above all, they appealed to young people by promising a new world of abundance and moral values replacing the superstitions and injustices of the past. Intended mainly for domestic consumption, this remarkable campaign to eradicate faith is among the least known aspects of Soviet visual culture.

Tea is for Tradition

Through October 2, 2022

The objects associated with Russian tea are tactile reminders of this important tradition and evoke warmth, home, and family. Much of tea's popularity is owed to Russia's literary greats and decorative artists, for it is in their craft that tea becomes immortalized as a central aspect of the Russian identity. This mini-exhibition in the Museum's lobby explores the permeation of tea culture in Russian art, craft, and literature.

The Museum of Russian Icons preserves and exhibits one of the world's largest collections of Orthodox Christian icons, bronze crosses, and Slavic folk arts. Spanning over six centuries, the collection showcases the development of the Russian icon from its Egyptian and Byzantine roots and explores the spread of Orthodoxy across cultures.

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 the largest collection of icons outside of Russia.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10am-4pm. Closed Monday-Wednesday.

Admission: Adults $12, seniors (59+) $10, Students $5, Children (13-17) $5, Children under 13 Free.

Visit the website,, home of the Online Collection (including research papers on individual icons), a virtual tour of the Museum, the Journal of Icon Studies, and the British Museum's Catalogue of Byzantine and Greek Icons.

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