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"Changing hands one last time, in the 1950s, for many years the icons at BJU lived as it were incognito, the details of their glamorous origins largely forgotten. Reuniting this core group-the cream of the Hammers' imperial icons--with others that passed into American museums in the 1930s allows us to appreciate the full significance of Armand and Victor Hammer's foray into marketing icons Americans.Viewed in isolation, most of their "imperial icons" are perhaps no mo than a poignant reminder of the vast destruction and dislocation of Orthodox culture during the Soviet Cultural Revolution. Taken together, however, they paint a vivid picture of an historical moment in which Russian icons underwent the tortuous transformation from devotional object to collectible work of art."

Publication Date



Bob Jones University


Greenville, SC


Art and Design | Christian Denominations and Sects | Christianity | Fine Arts | History of Christianity | History of Religions of Western Origin | Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Other Religion | Slavic Languages and Societies


This essay was published in the catalog "Rublev to Fabergé: The Journey of Russian Art and Culture to America", which accompanied the exhibit of the same name at the Sargent-Wilson Museum and Gallery at Bob Jones University. The exhibition ran from October 2011 through June 2013.


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An Imperial Collection: Exploring the Hammers' Icons