The Order of Malta and Russia have just inaugurated an exposition of 17th and 18th century icons. A way of strengthening the bond between the Russian Federation and the Holy See.
The preview of the exhibition entitled “The Russian Icon: Prayer and Mercy” took place on October 9, 2017, at the Palazzo Braschi in the Eternal City. It is the organizers’ way of commemorating the 25th anniversary of the official relations between the Russian Federation and the Sovereign Equestrian Order of Malta.
The presence at the Palazzo Braschi of this impressive collection of icons from the Andreï Rublev Museum and the private Museum of the Russian Icon goes to show the reciprocal enrichment between Russian iconography and European art.
The exhibition, that will end on December 3, was organized on the eve of the year 2018 which will mark the three-hundred-and-twenty-eighth anniversary of the first bilateral relations between the Russian Empire and the Order. It was in 1690 that Boris Sheremetiev was sent by Peter the Great to La Valette, the Maltese capital, to conclude a military alliance that would make it possible to control the Ottoman dominion in the region.
The icons exposed date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, a period during which the relations between the Russian Empire and the Order of Malta were particularly close, so much so that their influence made itself felt in the artistic world.
The visitor will thus observe that while some of the works presented follow the purest canons of the Slavic icon, others offer a mixture of Russian tradition with the baroque style that the Order of Malta helped make popular in the country of the Czars.
L'Osservatore Romano, in its Italian October 9-10, 2017 issue, points out that this exposition is to be understood in the context of the intense diplomatic relations between Russia and the Holy See.