Lending Library


Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai

Author(s):   Thomas F. Mathews
Publisher:   Oxford University Press, USA (2007)
Format:   Paperback
Copies:   1 copy available
Product Info:   Book Description

Isolated in the remote Egyptian desert, at the base of Mount Sinai, sits the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the Christian world. The Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Sinai holds the most important collection of Byzantine icons remaining today. This catalogue, published in conjuction with the exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from November 14, 2006, to March 4, 2007, features forty-three of the monastery's extremely rare--and rarely exhibited--icons and six manuscripts still little-known to the world at large.
The exhibition and catalogue bring to life the central role of the icon in Byzantine religious practices. Themes include the icon's status as holy object, the ways in which the icon sanctified the place of worship, and the monks' quest for the holy. The Greek Orthodox monastery at Mount Sinai not only functioned as a major pilgrimage site for centuries but was also a cultural crossroads at the center of the shifting sands of ecclesiastical and secular politics. The accompanying essays explore how the monastery's contact with the outside world, through pilgrimage, resulted in aesthetic exchanges between the monastery and Coptic, Crusader, and Islamic art; and between the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic communities in Europe.

Editorial Reviews


"In this compact but beautiful volume, Tradigo provides some of the most comprehensive information currently available regarding theological icons in general, specific icons, Orthodox sanctuary furnishings (including a very informative discussion of the role and significance of the iconostasis and various elements thereof), and various Orthodox saints."--Choice

"The essayists do an admirable job of portraying the role of icons in the Byzantine Empire as well as Saint Catherine, but it is the catalog entries that really sparkle. Each thoroughly crafted entry includes notes and references as well as a condition report and detailed notation of inscriptions. Recommended for all collections covering Byzantine art."--Library Journal

About the Author

Robert S. Nelson is Robert Lehman Professor of the History of Art at Yale University and author of Hagia Sophia, 1850-1950: Holy Wisdom Modern Monument.

Kristen M. Collins is assistant curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Thomas F. Mathews is John Langeloth Loeb Professor of the History of Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York.

David Jacoby is professor of history at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Father Justin Sinaites is librarian at the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Sinai.