Icons

Icons, the sacred images of the Orthodox Church, differ from other religious painting.


Icons are usually painted on wood and decorated with gold leaf. The motifs are strictly defined, and there is seldom room for artists to digress. Depicting human figures has been prohibited in the Orthodox Church at various times over the centuries. Figures in icons are seen as “flat”. Their two-dimensional nature and the gold leaf indicate that the observer is no longer present in earthly reality.

As well as images of saints or Bible stories, various Christ motifs are common. You can read about some of the motifs in the descriptions of individual artworks.

Nationalmuseum has one of the largest and finest collections of icons outside Russia, donated in 1933 by Olof Aschberg, a banker. This donation, which was supplemented in 1952, is the reason why Nationalmuseum is now one of the leading museums in this field.

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Tuesday–Friday: 11–17
Saturday, Sunday: 12–16
Monday closed

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At Konstakademien, Fredsgatan12

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