Sacred Arts and City Life

November 19, 2005–February 12, 2006

This exhibition examined the art and culture of Veliky Novgorod, Russia's oldest medieval city.

The exhibition featured approximately 290 objects–including 35 icons–that trace the material and artistic culture of Novgorod from the 9th century, through its Golden Age in the 14th century, to its eclipse by Moscow in the 16th century. The material culture of this remarkable city was represented by carved wood and bone objects, leather goods, jewelry, musical instruments, and birch bark documents. Precious ecclesiastical objects– icons, metalwork, and textiles–from Novgorods numerous churches highlighted the cultural achievements of the city’s Golden Age. For the first time, these distinctive icons were displayed together with artifacts of the people who produced them, bringing visitors face to face with Novgorod’s citizens and the saints to whom they looked for protection. A comprehensive catalogue accompanied the exhibition.