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Icons of the Zacharias Portalakis Collection, 15h-20th c.

In May 2014 the Society of Cretan Historical Studies was honored as the recipient of the generous donation by the art collector Zacharias Portalakis, of sixty-five portable icons (15th - 20th century).

The Zacharias Portalakis Donation, henceforth permanently on display at the Historical Museum of Crete, is comprised by icons representative of schools and traditions from a wide geographical area - Crete, the Ionian Islands, mainland Greece, the Balkans and Russia, and which are characterized by diversity in their themes and iconography. Exhibited in groups that are intended to highlight their central features, the donated icons are arranged according to their iconography, use and style:

• Iconography: representations of the Virgin in post-Byzantine and Russian art, followed by Prophets, Saints with scenes from their lives and the feast days,
• Use: icons intended for public worship (despotic-icons and architrave icons) and those intended for private worship (triptychs), and finally,
• Style: Cretan icons of the 15th and 16th century representative of the mastership of the Cretan School of painting at its peak and icons showing the subsequent dissemination of various iconographic types developed by the Cretan master painters by non-Cretan workshops, confirming their widespread influence.

The innovative architectural design of the overall exhibition aims at presenting the icons as self-luminous objects and in keeping with the teachings, as testimonies of "uncreated light".