Maybe the Best Russian Icon Collection in America
The other day I wrote about the Eastern Orthodox iconography of John the Baptist. Let me take a step back now and spend a little more time on the amazing institution where I saw those pieces: The Museum of Russian Icons. Located in Clinton, MA, about an hour drive from Boston, the modern facility displays hundreds of excellent Russian icons. It was such a pleasant surprise to find this small museum; it is definitely one of my favorite New England hidden gems.
The Museum houses the personal collection of Gordon B. Lankton. An executive at a plastic company, he bought his first icon at a flea market in Russia while on a business trip. Mr. Lankton became fascinated by the style and imagery and returned from his subsequent business trips with more icons. (Now new pieces are acquired through well-respected international auction house.) With well over 100 icons, Mr. Lankton decided the collection would be best displayed at a museum, but a suitable organization could not be found in New York City or Boston. He then decided to keep the icons in Clinton and so the current Museum was opened in 2006 in a renovated carpet factory. The museum space is elegant and an excellent platform for enjoying the art. The Museum now has over 500 icons and objects in its collection and has a friendly and informed staff. With 12,000-17,000 visitors annually, you’re also likely to enjoy the works with some peace and quiet.
Images of the collection were taken by me, except the last one of the museum interior.
I enjoy this type of religious painting – simple yet sumptuous. The interior is those things too, in a different way.