One of the best art exhibitions I saw in the ’90s was The Glory of Byzantium at the Met (March 11 – July 6, 1997); I went back as often as I could, dragging everyone I knew. It covered the period from 843 to 1261, and they managed to get superb artworks from places that had never before allowed works to travel. Today they’ve opened the long-anticipated sequel, Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261–1557):

The importance of the era is primarily demonstrated through the arts created for the Orthodox church and for the churches of other East Christian states that aspired to be the heirs to the empire’s power. The impact of its culture on the Islamic world and the Latin-speaking West is also explored—especially the influence of the Christian East on the development of the Renaissance.
In connection with the exhibition, a major symposium on “Byzantium: Faith and Power” will be held at the Metropolitan Museum from Friday, April 16, to Sunday, April 18. The event will include scholarly presentations and a concluding performance. For more information, call 212-570-3710 or email

Read more about it in this NY Times story, and if you’re anywhere near the city in the next few months (it runs runs through July 4) you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss it.

Oh, and many of the items are in Greek and various Slavic languages. Just so you don’t think this is turning into an artblog or something.


  1. aldiboronti says

    Some interesting words in the Byzantine glossary at the Met site:
    A couple that caught my eye
    Senmurv Persian mythological beast, often represented as a combination of a bird and either a dog or a lion.
    Mandorla (Italian, “almond”) The almond-shaped field of radiance and splendor that entirely surrounds a holy personage, such as the Virgin Mary, or Christ in a Last Judgement scene.
    It also lists Pantokrator (Greek “all-sovereign”) as an epithet often attached to Christ. This interested me as, according to Irenaeus in Against All Heresies, the Valentinians called the Devil “Kosmokrator”.

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