The icon has become a permanent fixture of Western culture and occupies a prominent place within the 'museum of the imagination' of the average viewer. Encountered in churches, both Catholic and Protestant, featured in museums and innumerable art galleries, smuggled across borders, purchased at prestigious art auctions and in street flea markets, created with the preservation of ancient rules and models as well as counterfeit, paraphrased and reproduced, it has gained an army of art lovers across the world. The popularity of Russian Orthodox Church painting has its repercussions also in contemporary art. The spectrum of artistic attitudes and manners of depiction derived from the icon is extensive and situated between two extremities: imitation and purely mental inspiration, illegible in the formal shape of the artwork, produced on the basis of avant-garde individualism. Artists inspired by the icon include representatives of the most varied currents and conventions. From Klimt and Moreau, the Russian avant-garde, Matisse, Kandinsky, Modigliani, Pronaszko, Chwistek, and Hiller, to Mondrian, Berdyszak, Bednarczyk, Damasiewicz, Sadley, Rothko, Tapies, Klein, Wiktor or Warhol, they executed works of astonishing formal variety, frequently at first glance totally unlike the original.
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