In America we call them “Roadside Attractions” – the enticing wonders that dot country highways. Advertising sensational things like 20 foot long alligator mummies or the world’s biggest dollhouse, these sights are usually good for a laugh, a rest stop, and an ice cream before heading back on the road. Mostly they are quirky, kitschy tourist stops, but occasionally you find a gem. I’ve come to realize that these places are not limited to the US. Here’s the story of one such incredible find in Israel, a figuratively and literally miraculous place.
Posts tagged ‘icons’
Take a good look at the icon below (without reading its name).
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.