Museum of Russian Icons
Backstory and Context
Housed in a 150-year-old historic mill building with a contemporary addition, the Museum of Russian Icons holds the largest collection of Russian icons and artifacts in North America. It was founded by Massachusetts art collector Gordon B. Lankton in 2006, and includes works from six centuries, as well as a research library, archive storage, and a conservation studio. In 2008, the adjacent 150-year-old courthouse and police station was acquired by the museum and renovated for additional gallery space, the offices of the Center for Icon Studies, a green-roof terrace, a tea room, a catering kitchen, and an event facility or lectures and concerts. All renovations and additions were designed by Durrant Design and constructed by T. H. Smith Building and Remodeling .
Russian icons, which are representations of religious figures and events, date to the conversion of pagan Rus' to Orthodox (Byzantine Greek) Christianity in the year 988. According to the Orthodox faith, the artists who painted icons were directly inspired by God. Some of these representations were even supposed to have been painted and given by saints, and in one case even by Jesus himself. The Greek and Russian Orthodox churches split, and Russian and Greek icon styles became more distinct from one another. The founding of a unique Russian style is credited to Andrei Rublev, whose Trinity icon in 1411 is considered the first example. Rublev is also the first icon painter known by name; icons are traditionally identified by region and type rather than by artist's name .
Though the museum's collections are Russian in origin, the Center for Icon
Studies which is headquartered in the museum studies iconography around the
world and into modern times. Their research includes conservation, art history
and comparative studies, and geopolitical, religious, and spiritual studies