Holy Images: the Greek Icons from the Velimezis Collection
11 September 2009 The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia,
in the collaboration and support of the Alexander
S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation jointly present Holy Images:
the Greek Icons from the Velimezis Collection, the exhibition
of more than
The exhibition (Halls
The Post-Byzantine icons of the Velimezis Collection were donated to the Onassis
Foundation in 2008, by Mr. Emilios F. Margaritis. The Collection
continues its journey, having already been presented in 19 international
exhibitions. The most recent exhibition was realized in November 2008,
by the Onassis Foundation, in collaboration with the Benaki Museum and
Greek icons have always been specially venerated in Russia; we have never
forgotten that the Orthodox faith came to us from Byzantium, from the Greeks.
The icons displayed at the exhibition date back
The Greek artists in the Italian region of Otranto also had their own
distinctive Latin style. On the other hand, the icon painters from the monasteries
of the Mount of Athos cultivated and preserved the Byzantine
iconography and techniques, and shunned Latin novelties for a long time.
From ancient, worm-eaten wood panels the stern faces of Orthodox saints who were martyred for their Christian faith look down on us. A pensive gaze of the Virgin seems to go straight through the onlooker - she can see things hidden from mere mortals. The Infant Christ clings to the face of His Mother, like any child would - as if He was not destined to suffer the Passion for the salvation of the entire humankind. When looking at these ancient icons, we should note not so much the exterior beauty of their artwork as their main purpose - to inspire men with Faith, Hope and Charity.
The exhibition in St Petersburg is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue in Russian and English with analytic scientific texts by Byzantinists.
In parallel, the Catalogue raisonne of the Velimezis Collection of Icons by Professor Nano Chatzidakis, under the title Icons. The Velimezis Collection (Athens, 1997) was translated and published in Russian. The catalogue has also been published, apart from Greek, in Spanish, English and German. The importance of its Russian translation is furthermore reinforced by the common religious beliefs between Greek and Russian, as well as by the close affinity among Greek, Russian and Byzantine art.
The exhibition of the Velimezis Collection in the State Hermitage Museum is the first venue in Russia. Its unique interest in combination with the successful "Velimezis Icon Collection Project", dating back to 1991, will be an important opportunity to promote Greek culture, within the framework of the activities of Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
On the 11th September 2009 in the Council Hall, the State Hermitage Museum, will be a lecture Between East and West. Greek Icons of the 15th - 16th centuries and Unknown Early Painting by El Grecoby Nano Chatzidakis, Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology University of Ioannina, Greece.
The scientific idea of the exhibition made by Professor Nano Chatzidakis, and by Yuri Pyatnitsky, Senior Curator of the Oriental Department, the State Hermitage Museum.
The exhibition is curated by Yuri Pyatnitsky, Senior Curator of the Oriental Department, the State Hermitage Museum.
A leaflet in Russian has been compiled by Yuri Pyatnisky and published by the Hermitage Publishing House. The Web site of The State Hermitage Museum (www.hermitagemuseum.org) and the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (www.onassis.gr) will feature the exhibition.