1. Amazing and beautiful. Thank you for sharing these!

  2. I find myself returning to look at these amber icons again and again, and my heart tells me that there is something really special and sacred here. I’ve seen the work several artisans who make icons out of non-standard materials (seashells, beads, marble, etc.). This sort of work is always interesting, but I seldom feel that these media offer any real advantage over paint or glass mosaic. But I think these amber icons have an intrinsic beauty that really offers a compelling vision of transfigured reality. The warmth, color, and organic softness of amber is so well suited to showing the uncreated light radiating through living flesh. I might even say that the best icon painters strive to make their painted boards look and feel a bit like amber! I very much look forward to seeing an amber iconostasis one day.

    It also strikes me as a wonderfully Russian irony how this amber art came to be where it is today. First, the amber room was the decadent conceit of a German king. Then it was gifted to Russia, and later the Germans stole it back. The loss of the room inspired Russia to build a replica, and now this amber craft is a Russian art rather than a German art. And so it has made it’s way to iconography – a fitting sanctification of an art form with a rough history. As the Russians say, “there is no bad without good”.

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