Exhibition May Help Solve BC Mystery

Exhibition May Help Solve BC Mystery

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Organizers of a Burns Library exhibition of religious art by the late Russian impressionist and mystic Alexis Arapoff hope the show will help solve a longstanding campus mystery: the whereabouts of six Stations of the Cross painted by Arapoff and missing at Boston College for more than 20 years.

Works by the late Russian religious artist Alexis Arapoff are on display at the Burns Library.
The exhibition at Burns features six Stations of the Cross from a series of 14 painted in 1935 by Arapoff (1904-48), an aristocratic émigré from St. Petersburg who painted in Paris and Boston and was noted for icons that blended Eastern and Western traditions.

Six other Stations from the series were donated by a collector to Boston College years ago and hung in houses on Upper Campus. Some of them were recalled as having been exhibited to art students in the mid-1980s. But since then, their whereabouts have been unclear.

Exhibition organizers hope the Stations on display at Burns through Lent will spark the memory of a visitor who may have seen the paintings' missing companions.

"Finding them is the reason for this show," said the artist's daughter, singer Mary Arapoff of Arlington, who lent the Burns the paintings by her father currently on display, and whose Rublev Choir gave a concert of Russian sacred music at the library Feb. 21.

"It's thought they might be in a closet somewhere," she said. "Someone needs to go and hunt."

She spoke as she showed a visitor to the Burns the haunting paintings from her collection that her father had done of Christ's Passion. They include a scene of the Crucifixion in which a disconsolate Mary Magdalen weeps at the foot of the Cross, and a poignant depiction of Mary holding the broken body of her Son.

"I've been praying we find the other six," she said. "These are so powerful. I don't know what the others would be."

See the Calendar section on page 8 for examples of the Arapoff images.


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