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Russia's saints come to Martigny

The collection from Moscow's Tretiakov Gallery can be seen in Martigny until June 17

(Keystone)

Martigny's Gianadda Foundation is holding a special exhibition of icons of Russian saints. The 60 works are on loan from Moscow's Tretiakov Gallery, and some are being seen for the first time outside Russia.

The icons date from the 14th to the 20th century and all are images of saints from the Russian Orthodox church. Ekaterina Selezneva of the Tretiakov Gallery says "we thought it was time to take a look at spirituality, now that we are at the doorstep of the third millennium".

As well as celebrating the rich history of Russian iconography, the exhibition charts the spiritual and stylistic evolution of Russian art over the centuries. Many of the icons depict real events, providing snapshots of Russian history.

Two masterpieces in particular, grab the visitor's attention. The first is an eight-metre fresco, dating from the 17th century. The second dates from the 15th century. It is the first time that these two works have been shown outside Russia.

Another dozen works have been restored especially for the Martigny showing.

The exhibition also gives visitors an idea about how icons come into being, as well as the process of restoration.

The exhibition runs until June. It is the second showing of Russian icons presented by the Gianadda Foundation: in 1997, it featured a broad retrospective of iconographic Russian art.

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