Mt. Athos photo exhibition available online

Moscow, April 28, 2017

The summit of Mt. Athos. Photo: The summit of Mt. Athos. Photo:

From January 27 to March 26 the exhibition “Holy Mountain: Icons from Mount Athos and Photographs by Frank Horlbeck” was on display in the Oscar F. and Louise Greiner Mayer Gallery of the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The exhibition, featuring fifty photographs from forty years of work, is now available online as well, offering “a rare glimpse into an autonomous sacred enclave to which access is extremely limited… The exhibition attempts to convey something of [the monks’] spiritual striving as well as the art, architecture, landscapes and rituals of the Holy Mountain.”

The collection, chosen from Horlbeck’s 20,000 slides taken from the 1970s until 2015, attempts to convey the story of Mt. Athos in four sections: the daily life of the monks on the Holy Mountain, Athos landscapes and monasteries, architectural ensembles, and sacred objects of the Holy Mountain. The photographer especially managed to capture landscape changes at different times of year, and architectural changes over the years on the mountain.

Fire at Karakallou Monastery. Photo: Fire at Karakallou Monastery. Photo:

One of the unique moments captured by the photographer and professor of emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin was the smoke rising from Karakallou Monastery after it was struck by lightning on the evening of June 14, 1988. The photo shows the wooden construction of the walls of the monastery, seemingly impenetrable from the outside, vulnerable to fire. The photographer also captured icons and crosses made on the Holy Mountain and various sacred objects cherished in the monasteries.

The full collection can be viewed here.


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