Our Lady embraces her crucified Son, their cheeks touching as in the icon of loving kindness. Christ in majesty appears against a red and blue background with bold lines that echo the contours of a tulip, angels swirl so speedily around Him that their faces become watery reflections. Sts. Anne and Joachim embrace at the Golden Gate, in front of their marriage bed. From their meeting at Jerusalem’s wall to the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, the mysteries of Christ’s life unfold, in a long wall of pictures, a sequence of scenes that recalls pre-regularization versions of the rosary. Joined icon screens extend like accordions. Rows and rows of saints fill pictorial calendars of the liturgical year.
A friend told me about the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, Massachusetts years ago and now it’s my turn to recommend it. If you are a Western Christian, you will breathe with your second lung. You will enter many hushed mansions of the centuries since Christ. Your soul will steep in the colors of the world to come.
And you may even see a unicorn!