Icons are among the most interesting and least known objects of sacral art. Discovered rather late by researchers and collectors alike, they comprise the object of quests conducted by collectors and museum staff. The oldest Polish icon collections date back to the second half of the nineteenth century, and were created in Warsaw and Cracow. Today, icons are gathered and stored in numerous Polish museums, i. a. in Lancut, Biala Podlaska, Szamotuly, Olsztyn and Bialystok. The article discusses a scenario for a museum of icons which are the property of the Podlasie Museum in Bialystok. The authoress proposes adapting one of the wings of the former Abbots' Palace in Suprasl for an exposition which would feature basic questions associated with the art of the icon. The exhibition should begin with a virtual display of Early Christian art conceived as an introduction to knowledge about the icon. The next interior recreates the studio of the isographer - a painter specialising in icons - full of prepared and primed boards as well as a whole arsenal of painter's tools. The following showroom is conceived by its designer as a presentation of fundamental questions relating to the theology and symbolic of the icon as well as an explanation of the concept of reversed perspective. The successive part of the museum is planned as a display of frescoes from Suprasl, one of the most interesting historical complexes of monuments in this part of Poland. The project foresees a diorama - a stage designed presentation of the miraculously preserved sixteenth century frescoes and a virtual tour of a church. The following showroom will be devoted to iconography - the theme of the icon and associated messages and stories explaining particular themes. The visitor will then see the most interesting paintings and icons from Podlasie known as the miracle working likenesses of the Madonna and Child. Here the authoress planned an exposition of such objects as Our Lady of Suprasl, Koden, Lesna, Rozanystok, Hodysz and others. The exposition will be accompanied by accounts linked with the miracles ascribed to the paintings as well as graphic emulations and prayers connected with the depictions. The temporary exhibition showroom should be used for demonstrating assorted problems linked with icons, such as the history of various Christian creeds in Podlasie; it should also attempt bringing the public closer to the history of Old Rite and Uniate icons as well as characterise the icons of Podlasie. The selection of icons for the purpose of a museum presentation must be particularly meticulous in order to emphasis their merits. The objects should be supplemented with commentaries and explanations assisted with modern media - computers, special programmes and multi-media transmissions.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.