We are so excited that two of the Abbey Museum’s icons from our wonderful Art Collection have been chosen as part of a special exhibition at the Ballarat Art Gallery in Victoria.
Abbey Museum’s Icons on display
“EIKON: Icons of the Orthodox Christian World”, features eighty high-quality works, including some really sumptuous examples of Orthodox art. Most of the icons in the exhibition originated from Greece and Russia, with examples as well from Cyprus, Syria and Palestine, and date from the twelfth to the beginning of the nineteenth centuries.
This exhibition is a rare opportunity to view two stunning icons from the Abbey Museum collection, so if you are in or around Ballarat why not join one of the special tour the Gallery is offering through the exhibition and hear the stories behind these wonderful artworks. These special tours are on at 11.30am from Wednesday to Sunday during the exhibition which opened on Saturday 18 October and will close on Monday 26 January, next year.
The Abbey Museum’s icons number twenty pieces in its collection and if you visit this exhibition you will see two of our finest. They are a 15th century painting on panel of St Michael the Archangel as Guardian of the Host which is possibly from Bulgaria or Greece. St Michael is one of the four great archangels mentioned in the Book of Revelation, a theme borrowed from Jewish Gnosticism. In this stunning painting he is shown in liturgical robes, rather than his customary armour as leader of the heavenly hosts.
The second of the Abbey Museum’s icons in the exhibition is titled The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste and is late 17th century Greek Orthodox from Cyprus. Some might say this is a remarkably graphic depiction of the famous Roman legionaries condemned to martyrdom outside the city of Sebaste in Armenia during the reign of Emperor Licinius in 320 AD. According to St. Basil, they were exposed on a frozen lake; one recanted and sought the warmth awaiting him on the shore. But a watching guard took his place and died with the others.
Both of the Abbey Museum’s icons have been recently conserved by John Hook, one of the leading conservators in Australia.
A number of our icons and Old Master paintings have previously been on display at the Queensland Art Gallery. It is our dream and goal to build an extension to our current archaeological gallery so that we can have our art collection permanently on display here at the Abbey Museum. We have been fundraising and seeking grants for this project for a number of years now. Progress has been slow but if you would like to donate to this cause and help us build our Art Gallery please contact the Museum Office on 07 5495 1652.