CLINTON, Mass. – One of the largest private collections of Russian icons outside of Russia, the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, is showing solidarity with Ukraine in a meaningful way.
“We have over 1,000 icons in our collection at this point," director of interpretation at the Museum of Russian Icons Amy Consalvi said, "And we were founded back in 2006 by the industrialist Gordon B Lankton."
The Museum of Russian Icons founder loved the stories told through icons.
While Lankton wasn't Russian, he always put the art and people first. Now, a Ukrainian icon is on display in the museum.
“Both the icon and the rushniki have been with us since 2019 and they were both donated by Franklin Siacca," Consalvi said. "He was the curator of our exhibition on rushniki which is this lovely textile draped around the icon.”
The ceremonial textile is symbolic of the pathway of life. Now on display full time, this particular one features the tree of life. The Director of Interpretation says it promotes peace and protection.
“It’s really our way of showing solidarity with the Ukrainian and Russian people during these really difficult times,” Consalvi said.
This Ukrainian icon is known as the Mother of God Pokrova.
“She is seen as a protectress and for the Ukrainian people," Consalvi said. "She is actually considered one of the patron Saints of Ukraine.”
Consalvi says the museum has seen an uptick in social media interest with everything happening in Ukraine.
“I think people really want to learn more about the history behind this war on Ukraine," she said. "They want to understand why this conflict even exists.”
The Museum of Russian icons is slowly bringing out more Ukrainian pieces. A current exhibit also displays orthodox art from 15 counties around the world, maintaining the museum's original vision of putting art and people first through a love of icons.
“We vehemently condemn what’s being done to Ukraine and also to the Russian people," Consalvi said. "We absolutely condemn the military aggression and we support the people who are speaking out against it.”
The Museum of Russian Icons is looking forward to displaying the works of contemporary artist Lesia Sochar. It’s an exhibit inspired by the tradition of decorated Ukrainian Easter egg painting that will be on display from March 17 to the end of July.