The public has the opportunity to see, for the first time, some 60 works of ecclesiastical art from the period between the 16th and 19th centuries that have never been displayed before. They are united in thematic groups chronologically illustrating gospel events and feasts from the Resurrection of Lazarus to the Holy Spirit.
The majority are icons on wood that reveal an unexpected variety in the development of iconography and style in the interpretation of the subject matter over the centuries. They include works depicting the pilgrimage to the Lord’s Tomb, and the relic of the impression of Christ’s footsteps on the last point He touched on Earth before His Ascension, as well as one of the earliest proskynetaria [Eastern Orthodox icon] in Bulgaria. The festive spirit is complemented by an embroidered shroud from the 17th century and wood-carved fragments of iconostases.
The exhibition is aimed at the general public, so the works are accompanied by detailed texts explaining the content of the holy days, how they have been celebrated throughout the centuries, the iconography of the scenes and the evangelical and liturgical narratives.
The works are owned by the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the National Church Museum of History and Archaeology of the Holy Synod, and the Svetlin Rusev private collection.