This exhibition, drawn from the University of Toronto’s Malcove Collection, is organized around two central themes: icons dedicated to Mary and the Christ Child, and icons representing Christ and important saints in the Christian tradition.
According to legend, St. Luke the Apostle painted three images of the Virgin and Child, perhaps the earliest representations of their kind. These venerable icon prototypes, faithfully copied over the ages, are highlighted in this exhibition.
A range of icon types is featured, including small portable icons used for private devotion at home or while traveling, and larger icons that would have been displayed on the iconostasis – the great screen or partition that divides the altar or sanctuary from the congregation in Greek Catholic and Orthodox churches. The Last Supper, a larger 18th-century icon that is characterized by a contrast of vivid reds and somber greys, may have been displayed on an iconostasis.