Windows into Heaven: The Icons of Susan Kelly vonMedicus


Weekdays with guided tour or by appointment; Saturdays 1:00 – 4:30 PM

Admission: Donations welcome (included in tour admission).

In Greek, the word “eikon” means “image.” In the Orthodox tradition of Christianity, developed in the medieval eastern Mediterranean, “icon” took on a special meaning, describing images on wooden panels. In the modern creation of these images, Susan Kelly vonMedicus works in an unbroken tradition developed during the earliest centuries of Christianity. An icon is often called a “window into heaven,” because figuratively speaking the viewer is meant to look through it, that is, beyond the surface of the painting to the religious subjects depicted. In drawing parallels between these icons and medieval artworks from Glencairn’s collection, visitors to this exhibition can see how the past reaches forward into the present, and vice versa.

About the artist: Susan Kelly vonMedicus was born in Philadelphia to the fabled Kelly clan, a devout Irish-Catholic family. Her parents, John B. (Jack) Kelly, Jr. and Mary Freeman, were both Olympic athletes. Her aunt, movie star Grace Kelly, married Prince Ranier III of Monaco to become Grace, Princess of Monaco. Susan has recently completed an icon as a gift for the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Monaco, a commission from her cousin Prince Albert II to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the archdiocese of Monaco.

Ms. Kelly vonMedicus was educated at the following institutions: Mater Misericordiae Academy; The Baldwin School; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and The Prosopon School of Iconology. In 2013 she will be an artist-in-residence at the Burren College of Art on the west coast of Ireland, just a few miles down the coast from Westport, County, Mayo, where the Kelly family emigrated from in the late 19th century. The mother of three sons, Susan lives and works in the Philadelphia area, creating artwork and keeping a garden, chickens and bees.