Museum Home Past Exhibitions Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai

November 14, 2006–March 4, 2007 at the Getty Center

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Browse reactions of other viewers below. These reactions were submitted to this site between November 7, 2006 and February 28, 2007. The site is now closed to new reactions. The opinions presented here may have been edited and do not reflect the opinions of the Getty.

Posted on 1/6/07 by Giovanni, New Hampshire
I avoid museums that use the B.C.E./C.E. date format, especially for Christian religious and sacred art. Should I avoid the Getty?

Editor's Note: BCE and CE are abbreviations for "Before the Common/Christian Era" and "Common/Christian Era." They are alternate date formats for B.C., an abbreviation of "Before Christ," and A.D., an abbreviation of "anno Domini" (after Christ). Both sets of terms are accepted date formats. Most institutions make an editorial decision to consistently use one of these formats. The Getty Museum uses B.C. and A.D.

Posted on 1/6/07 by Mark V. Sykes, Tucson, Arizona
Excellent exhibit and good tour. Two comments:
During the tour I asked the docent about the meaning of the symbols to the left of the heads of Moses and Elijah in two icons. Upon closer inspection, it seemed an amalgam of the letters that seemed to spell 'prophet.' I checked online and found that 'prophet' does derive from Greek. Since both Moses and Elijah were prophets, this seems to be the proper interpretation. I did note on other icons how letters of a name or word would be laid out in a pattern or arrangement that evoked an artistic or other symbolic purpose.

My second comment is a criticism of such exhibits in general: there is a lack of explanation about the content of the displayed art. For instance, some of the icons of St. Catherine showed scenes from her life that must have been well-known stories. However, most modern viewers (such as myself) are totally ignorant of these stories. It would be nice to have more detailed information for each displayed item to better appreciate what they are. Even the calendar icons could benefit from an explanation of who the different figures are. There is substantial information that could be added.

Editor's Note: Regarding the explanatory content in exhibitions, you raise a good point. Every exhibition presents selected information. There isn't room to include comprehensive information in any exhibition. For this reason, many exhibitions, including this one, have an accompanying catalogue that includes more details. Learn more about the catalogue for this exhibition.

Posted on 1/4/07 by Politimy Nicolaou, Huntington Beach, CA
As a Greek Orthodox Christian, we often joke that we are Christianity's best kept secret. Moreover, I wonder if others find our ornate churches and icons off-putting. I was excited to hear the Getty was bringing a sacred collection of icons to the U.S., and was overwhelmed at the exhibit and the positive feedback on this Web site and in the media. I am moved to hear that people of all faiths and backgrounds can appreciate the holy images of another's religion and culture. The Getty has done a great service to humanity. By exploring the faith of our fellow human beings, I believe it brings us closer together as a people and closer to God.

Posted on 1/3/07 by Kathy Brown, St. Paul, MN
After listening to, reading, and looking at the entire Web site for the last 1.5 hrs., I feel deeply moved: I have been bathed in a holy experience. The Web site drew me in immediately: the colors, the boldness of the lettering and the words. Upon exploring the site I found I could look so intently at each icon: each one was so clear no matter how much I enlarged it. My curiosity was constantly being piqued and then quenched as I learned all about icons, Saint Catherine's, the monks, and history. I am wondering; how did this extraordinary exhibit come to be? I want to jump on the next plane and experience it in person. I would have loved to have seen pictures of the exhibit especially the specially designed area to show the icons in context. Thank you so much for an inspiring Web site!!

Posted on 1/1/07 by Christina, Wilmington, CA
The paintings were inspiring and miraculous! Just breathtaking!

Posted on 1/1/07 by Novice Monk Michael, Los Angeles, CA
I am deeply impressed by the sensitivity, respect, and skill with which this important exhibit has been prepared and presented. As an Eastern Orthodox Christian and monastic, I was able to feel "at home" in the exhibit and, more importantly, felt none of the sadness that sometimes comes when I view Holy icons in a museum setting, far removed from their purpose as windows into the reality of people and places touched by the Holy. The Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine and the Getty Center have done a great service not only to art and history, but to the human spiritual quest as it has been experienced over the centuries in the Orthodox Faith, a faith all-to-often hidden from view in America, despite its long presence and millions of adherents. Thank you so very much.

Posted on12/29/06 by John Sanoudis, Aberdeen, NJ
My wife and I had the great privilege to visit Saint Catherine's monastery as part of a tour of the Holy Land. In the morning, after the divine liturgy, the Abbot gave each of us a little ring with the insignia of Saint Catherine. Just the other day it slipped off my finger into my leather work glove after digging in my yard. Well, I was devestated, having lost my ring. I searched all the pockets of my work clothes, my yard, driveway, my car and didn't find it. So, I prayed to Saint Catherine for her assistance. She answered me...and told me to look in my leather glove that I used that day. And there it was. It was a little too big for my finger and I was wearing it inside my wedding ring. Saint Catherine also told me to have it made smaller, which i did right away. Yes, the burning bush is still there, and I have a leaf in my iconastasis. I regret that I cannot make the trip to the Getty. So I'll have to make another trip to Mount Sinai.

Posted on 12/26/06 by Frank McKown, Santa Monica, CA
The exhibit reminded me that there are still places on earth that transend the Holy. Saint Catherine's is one of these places. Viewing these devotional icons at Christmas provided a much needed anchor of faith in these uncertain times.