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Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Medieval Art

The Museum's collection of medieval and Byzantine art is among the most comprehensive in the world. Displayed in both the Main Building and in the Metropolitan's branch in northern Manhattan, The Cloisters museum and gardens, the collection encompasses the art of the Mediterranean and Europe from the fall of Rome in the fourth century to the beginning of the Renaissance in the early sixteenth century. It also includes pre-medieval European works of art created during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age.

Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Khirbat al-Mafjar

Betsy Williams, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Few surviving Umayyad palaces present as much evidence for the types of decoration popular among the period's elite as does Khirbat al-Mafjar, a desert qusur, or fortified palace complex.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Art & Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology by Steven Fine

Yitzchak Schwartz, Intern, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In Art & Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology, Steven Fine tackles the question of what ancient Jewish art meant to the people who experienced and made it.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Iconoclasm

Evan Freeman, Graduate Student, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012

Iconoclasm in eighth- and ninth-century Byzantium is often presented as a straightforward, universal policy that was widely enforced. Do the works in the exhibition support such a view?

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The Game of Kings Exhibition Blog

High Ground

Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012

In previous posts, we discussed the origins of chess in India centuries ago. For the final post of this blog, we turn to modern-day India, where chess remains as popular as ever.

The city of Banaras (or Varanasi), in Uttar Pradesh, India, is holy to Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. It is sometimes celebrated as the "City of Temples," of "Learning," or of "Lights." Located on the banks of the Ganges, it is also subject to relentless flooding.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Saint Shenoute of Atripe

Alzahraa K. Ahmed, Intern, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Scholars have debated whether Saint Shenoute of Atripe lived from 332–451 or 350–466—an astonishing length of time in either case—but all agree that he was one of the most important monastic reformers the Coptic Church has ever known.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

The Formation of Islamic Art by Oleg Grabar

Betsy Williams, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Most surveys of Islamic art proceed chronologically or geographically to synthesize several centuries of material covering a region stretching from Spain to Afghanistan. Oleg Grabar's book, The Formation of Islamic Art, instead focuses thematically on the earliest centuries of Islam.

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The Game of Kings Exhibition Blog

End Game

Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chess games are sometimes accurately represented in works of art, but that is not always the case. Consider, for example, this curiously theatrical photograph from the mid-nineteenth century.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Hajj: A Journey to Meet God

Alzahraa K. Ahmed, Intern, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012

The words "pilgrimage" and "sacred space," one evoking human movement and the other performative space, are inseparable from one another. Through pilgrimage, the pilgrim embarks on a spiritual path toward the full submission to God in an often-distant sacred space.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Qusayr 'Amra

Betsy Williams, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Umayyad qusur, or desert "palaces," are known for their variety of architectural styles and decoration. One example, Qusayr 'Amra, is well known on both counts.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity
by Daniel Boyarin

Yitzchak Schwartz, Intern, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Today we perceive Judaism and Christianity as totally separate religions, but in Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, author Daniel Boyarin describes the process in which "borders" were created to divide what was once a unified "Judaeo-Christianity," and the rich cultural interactions that took place between Jews and Christians even as the divisions between them were erected.

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