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Saved Sanctity. Icons from the Collection of Nikolai Kormashov

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The book accompanies the exhibition Saved Sanctity. Icons from the Collection of Nikolai Kormashov (11.04.–11.11.2018). The icon collection of the artist Nikolai Kormashov (1929–2012) is unique for several reasons. Saved Sanctity is not just the title of this exhibition, but it also describes the long-term selfless activity and life philosophy behind its development. Nikolai Kormashov, whose path to becoming an artist had several decisive turning points, was able to rescue several sacred images that were in danger of destruction.

The exhibition and catalogue contain a number of rare icons from northern Russia, the Pskov area and Kormashov’s birthplace near Murom in the Vladimir Oblast. The book includes the stories of how the icons were found and the difficult fate of these sacred images, as well as their role in the art of the second half of the 20th century. This is the first time that such a large part of the collection will be on display, which will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to the research on early Russian art, because it includes icons from regions in northern Russia where icon workshops were renowned and productive in their day, but only a few examples of the art produced in them have survived. In the scientific sense, Kormashov’s collection is especially important because the information on where the icons were found is quite precise and, therefore, enables entire episodes of the regional history to be rediscovered. 

The exhibition and catalogue include the most significant but not all of the icons from Kormashov’s collection. A large number of Russian researchers, headed by Natalia Komashko, helped to attribute and date the icons, and their contribution is hard to overestimate. This book is an important event for the Art Museum of Estonia, the owners of Nikolai Kormashov’s collection, the researchers of early Russian art and a wide circle of art lovers.

Compiled by Andrei Kormashov, Orest Kormashov and Aleksandra Murre

Texts by Orest Kormashov, Andrei Kormashov, Mai Levin and Natalia Komashko

Edited by Aleksandra Murre, Natalia Komashko

Graphic design and image editing Andrei Kormashov and Kätlin Tischler

240 pp.

In Estonian, English and Russian, illustrated

Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Mikkel Museum

Tallinn 2018

ISBN 978-9949-485-81-9

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