Bees and Icons

The respect bees have for holy icons:

In the region of Kapandriti near Athens, a wonderful thing happens. Ten years ago, a devout beekeeper named Isidoros Ţiminis, thought to place in one of his hives an icon of the Crucifixion of the Lord. Soon thereafter, when he opened the hive, he was amazed that the bees showed respect and devotion to the icon, having “embroideed” it in wax, yet leaving uncovered the face and body of the Lord. Since then, every spring, he puts into the hives icons of the Savior, the Virgin Mary and the Saints, and the result is always the same…

More with other photos here.



Crucifixion Art No Longer Commands Auction Prices

Paintings and sculptures of what may be the most iconic scene in the history of art — the crucifixion of Jesus — are no longer commanding the auction prices they once did.

While it’s common for individual works to occasionally sell for less than they are worth, consider:

  • In January, a late 14th-century Florentine painting of Jesus on the cross estimated between $80,000 and $120,000 sold at Sotheby’s for $86,500.
  • An Italian Crucifixion from the same period, estimated between $100,000 and $150,000, sold for $110,500 at the same auction.
  • The previous December, Sotheby’s London sold a mid-16th century Netherlandish Crucifixion sculpture estimated at $31,500 to $47,000 for about $27,500.

Even images of Crucifixions by established masters can be purchased on the cheap, said Joaneath Spicer, curator of Renaissance and baroque art at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Spicer hasn’t purchased Crucifixions for the museum in some time.

In part, she said, Christian art has become the victim of its own success.

“If I want more Crucifixion bronzes, there are some in storage that are quite nice,” she said.

But there are other cultural factors that may be contributing to the declining sales prices. One of them may be changing worship styles that rely more on words and music and less on visual images. A bigger one may be an unwillingness to openly and publicly display one’s religious commitments…

The Huffington Post has the rest.



Russian Businessman Donates 70 Icons Worth around $1m to the Church

The property developer Sergei Shmakov has spent over a year tracking down the works, which were removed from Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution and during the first world war.

The Art Newspaper:

A Russian businessman has donated more than 70 icons with an estimated value of Ru 30m (around $1m) to the Russian Orthodox Church. Property mogul Sergei Shmakov has spent over a year tracking down the icons—which were taken out of Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution and during the first world war—at auctions, antique stores and flea markets abroad. The icons include a rare mid-18th-century icon, St John the Theologian in Silence, which depicts the apostle with his fingers over his lips and an angel peering over his shoulder as he contemplates the gospel he is composing.

At a ceremony on 4 October, the Russian culture minister Alexander Avdeyev praised Shmakov for his donation. “Your help is a matter of great patriotism,” said Avdeyev. “You could have spent your money on something else, on developing your business, for example, but you are returning to Russia not only sacred, but cultural treasures, works of art.”

The culture ministry said that Avdeyev had accompanied Shmakov on some of his travels abroad in search of the icons…

More here.



Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows refers to the sorrows in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Seven Sorrows (or Dolors) are events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary which are a popular devotion and are frequently depicted in art.

It is a common devotion for Catholics to say daily one Our Father and seven Hail Mary for each.

1. The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34-35) or the Circumcision of Christ.

2. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13).

3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:43-45).

4. Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary (Luke 23:26).

5. Jesus Dies on the Cross. (John 19:25).

6. Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in Her Arms. (Matthew 27:57-59).

7. The Body of Jesus Is Placed in the Tomb. (John 19:40-42).


An Icon of the Beheading of John the Baptist

Via An Reader’s Guide to Orthodox Icons:

The 29th of August commemorates the Beheading of John the Baptist and Forerunner of Christ. Above is an icon of The Head of St John the Forerunner (Глава Cв Иоанна Предтечи), a type of icon which flourished within the Russian Empire during the 19th century.

A few other examples of this icon can be found here, here, here, and here (all images hosted on the Cirota forum).