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Saratov's Radischev State Art Museum opened today an exposition of Orthodox Christian icons
Saratov's Radischev State Art Museum opened today an exposition of Orthodox Christian icons. The event is part of celebrations to commemorate Archbishop Pimen, outstanding hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who was active in the 20th century's latter half. Icons of Eastern Christendom are an inimitable artistic phenomenon, figuratively described as "theology in colour". Christian aesthetics view the icon as reflecting heavenly beauty-the most sublime kind of beauty. This-worldly paints cannot portray it in its entire perfection, yet it is present in iconic symbols as music stands behind notation. "Icon-painting is a symbolic system as no other. This system has become the idiom of the Church. A [secular] picture mainly affects emotion, the icon intellect and intuition. The picture reflects a mood, the icon the permanent state of a personality," says Archimandrite Raphael (Karelin, in the world), prominent theologian of this day. The icon-painter prepares to his work through prayer and fasting, as to a holy sacrament. If he is to feel the transcendental message heart and soul, and so to portray it in line and colour, the artist must wholly and dedicatedly belong to the liturgical and mystical life of the Church. The Saratov exposition is displaying more than thirty icons from the 19th century into the early 20th. It represents three iconographic clusters-of the Saviour, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. Some of the exhibits belong to widespread and long-established canonical trends, others are rarities-among them The Nativity of St. John the Baptist with Life, out of the museum depository. Some are unique family icons painted to order. Of special notice among them is the Eulogy to Our Lady, which brings together St. John Chrysostom and St. Nicholas. As we can assume, John and Nicholas were names of members of the household that owned the icon. A majority of sacred images on display have come from Saratov churches. The city's Trinity Cathedral has lent eight of them. The exposition will be open for a month. The Russian Museums website is offering related information
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