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"Sinai, Byzantium, Russia" exhibition
Orthodox art from the 6th to the 20th century

June 19 - September 18, 2000

The State Hermitage Museum jointly with Monastery of St. Catherine on Sinai and St. Catherine Foundation (London) present an exhibition of orthodox art of the 6-20 centuries, which is dedicated to the Monastery of St. Catherine on Sinai. This will be the most impressive exhibition of such material for the last thirty years. Not only the quantity - over 500 items, but, in the first place, the highest artistic value of the objects selected make this exhibition so significant and important. It is for the first time that works of chirch art performed by masters of Byzantium, Georgia and Russia will be exhibited in the same context. Among them there are some real masterpieces of the world art, such as ancient encaustic icons from the funds which have never exhibited before; objects of silver, gold, ivory and precious stones. All the magnificence and splendour of Byzantium so impressive in its refinement and exquisitness will be represented in the exhibition. Splendid Georgian silverware and enamels on gold, ancient Russian parchment illuminated manuscripts, gold and silver needlework, icons in precios settings and finest carved nacre re-create the atmosphere of splendour and luxury of the East Orthodox church. Works by Russian and and West-European masters who worked at the court of Russian tzars and emperors, will form a separate division of the exhibition. The very things which Peter I and Catherine the Great, Alexander III and Nicholas II once hold in their hands, gifts presented for the 300-th anniversary of the Romanov House seem to argue with each other which is more important: their historical significance, finest work or great value of the metals and jewels.
The role of the Sinai monastery in the world culture and its historical connections with Russia will be the focus of the exhibition. Etchings and drawings by the travellers will give the public an idea about the remote monastery lost amidst the rocks and sands of the Arabian desert. Images of St. Catherine - the holy protectress of the monastery so revered in Russia - will make a special division. But the highlight of the exhibition will be the original ancient icons of the 10-13 centuries which the Sinai monastery has greed to bring to Russia, to the Hermitage. The exhibition will be held in the Big Cathedral of Winter Palace, specially restored for this project, from June 19 till September 18, 2000. In conjunction with the exhibition the catalogue of 488 pages with full colour illustrations is published. The catalogue is prepared by the Hermitage curators, the publisher - Paul Holberton (London).


The basilika of the 6th century in the Mount Sinai
Larger view

St.Catherine with diring scenes.
Late 12th - early 13th century.
Larger view

Archangel Michael from Deesis.
13th century.
Larger view

Saints Sergius and Bacos.
13th century.
Larger view

The Hermitage
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