The collection of American-Byzantine icons Wrestling With Angels was recently on display at The Museum of Russian Icons. This collection was created at the Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography, and it features 45 icons created by 16 iconographers.
The curator of the collection, Lynette Hull, has her sights set on bringing the collection to Vegas.
Each one of these pieces of art features a Biblical scene that, together, comprises the largest cohesive collection of this type of Christian art. Through this American-Byzantine art, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the Biblical stories that the scenes depict, and you’ll be given the opportunity to let your mind wrestle with some of the most famous symbols of Christianity.
Explore the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel, who is also God in the Bible. The robes and sandals that were worn at the time are faithfully depicted in this classic style of art, and careful attention is given to the colors chosen for each of the details of the painting.
You might also recognize the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. These two angels are in sharp contrast to the angel in the story of Jacob. While both the Archangels and the angel that wrestled with Jacob are depicted with the same halo of light and the same style of wings, the painting of Michael and Gabriel shows both angels in clothing that indicates an entirely different status. The angel in the story of Jacob is depicted in plain robes. Michael and Gabriel, however, are wearing highly ornamented robes, and the floor that they’re standing on is ornamental, as well.
The angels under God’s command have different standing, and Archangels like Michael and Gabriel are some of the highest in the ranks. It is, however, interesting that God chooses to reveal Himself to Jacob as an angel wearing plain robes. God sometimes reveals Himself to his people in less powerful forms as he does with Jacob. In fact, many times, God humbles Himself as He does when He sends His son to the world as Jesus.
Comparing the painting of Michael and Gabriel to the painting of Jacob and God as an angel shows that even though God is almighty and has legions of angels at his command, He is also willing to come to earth in a form that His people can touch and grapple with.
The paintings in this collection help believers and people who are simply interested in the historical value of Byzantine art grapple with angels and famous Biblical stories in a way that’s immediate and sensory.