The Museum of Russian Icons Summer 2017 Newsletter MORI_summer_2017_NL

NEWS from the MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN ICONS Summer 2017 FANTASTIC BEASTS in ICONOGRAPHY Now through September 24, 2017 his family-friendly exhibition of over 50 icons and artifacts, five dragon sculptures, and one jackalope explores the types of natural and unnatural creatures in iconography, along with their origins, symbolism, and stories. For thousands of years, animals have appeared in art and in literature as symbols to help tell a story or to teach a moral lesson. Lists called bestiaries cataloged animals, along with illustrations and information about their characteristics and their symbolic meaning. Bestiaries were popular from the 1st century CE through the medieval period. These volumes ensured consistency in the way animals were portrayed in art. Though we now know that some of the creatures recorded in bestiaries are imaginary, all of those catalogued were believed to be real at the time. In Christian art, many animals had special symbolism related to the Bible. Their depiction was one way that Christian beliefs could be portrayed secretly during times of persecution. HERE BE DRAGONS The Greek word δράκων [drakon] translates as “huge serpent” but can also mean dragon. Both beasts are mentioned in the Bible, and are considered synonymous with wickedness, immorality, and Satan. Sculptor Hilary Scott’s five enormous dragon-heads loom over the Fantastic Beasts exhibition. His diverse interpretations allow us to explore dragon-lore in several cultures. Learn more about Hilary’s work at 203 Union Street, Clinton, MA 01510