Public Program

In Dialogue: On Byzantine Icons

In Dialogue: On Byzantine Icons

Dr. Richard Temple, a specialist in the study of sacred art based in London, joins Clare Elliott, the Menil’s Associate Research Curator, for a program exploring several works from the Menil’s celebrated collection of Byzantine icons. By looking closely at examples including St. Marina from the 13th century and St. George and the Dragon from the late 16th century, Temple and Elliott discuss the iconography of these works, the techniques used by icon painters, as well as how these artworks would have been used in private and monastic life.

The Menil’s collection of icons is widely regarded by scholars in the field as one of the most important in the United States. With objects from the 6th to the 18th centuries, it encompasses a number of distinct cultures including Greek, Balkan, and Russian. The breadth and quality of the collection embody the ambitions and the values, both aesthetic and spiritual, that guided Dominique and John de Menil throughout their lives as collectors.

About the speakers:

Dr. Sir Richard Temple Bt., PhD, founded the Temple Gallery in 1959 as a center for the study, restoration, and exhibition of ancient icons and sacred art. Over the years he has published many catalogues and scholarly articles. In 1990 his book Icons and The Mystical Origins of Christianity was published by Element Books. It was reprinted in 1992, and a new edition was published in 2001 by Luzac Oriental. His most recent book, ICONS Divine Beauty (2004), was published by Saqi Books. Temple was educated at Stowe and at the Sorbonne and served during National Service in the Royal Horse Guards. He was awarded a PhD at the Prince’s School of Tradition Arts, University of Wales, for his thesis The Esoteric Tradition and Peter Bruegel the Elder. Interested in ancient sacred traditions, he has studied Neoplatonism, Christian Hesychasm, and the emergence of Christianity from Hellenistic culture.

Clare Elliott is Associate Research Curator at the Menil Collection, where she has organized exhibitions and contributed to catalogues since 2003. Elliott received her masters in the history of art from Williams College in Massachusetts.

About the series:

In Dialogue is the Menil Collection’s series of live, online conversations. Menil curators are joined by notable scholars, artists, and art professionals for engaging discussions about the museum’s collection, current exhibitions, and ideas shaping contemporary discourses about art. All programs are free and open to everyone.