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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

Saint Bart's and Hildreth Meière

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012

Like Saint Anselm's, which I discussed in an earlier post, Saint Bartholomew's Church in New York City (often known as "St. Bart's") offers an example of early twentieth-century appreciation of the Byzantine aesthetic.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

The Persian-Style Riding Coat

Nazanin Hedayat Munroe, Artist and Art Historian

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012

While garment styles in the Late Antique world were simple in form—consisting of the T-shaped tunic for men and children, and loose, draped garments, such as the gunna and palla, for women—Persian garments of the late Sasanian period (220–650) reflect more complex tailoring and forms.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Judaism During the Byzantine Period

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

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012

The historical period explored in Byzantium and Islam was deeply transformative for Judaism. In this post, I'll give a brief summary of Judaism during this transitional time, focusing on some important trends showcased in the exhibition.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Interview with the Research Associate

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brandie Ratliff, the research associate for Byzantium and Islam, joined me recently for a chat about her participation in the show. She worked closely with the curator Dr. Helen Evans on many aspects of the exhibition and catalogue.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels by Janet Martin Soskice

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012

In The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels, Janet Martin Soskice tells the story of twin sisters Agnes and Margaret Smith, born in Scotland in 1843, who made a discovery that would have implications for the future of biblical studies.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Scripts in Development

Hannah Korn, Collections Management Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012

The range of manuscripts included in Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition suggests the importance of book production in the cultures found throughout the exhibition. Paleography (the study of handwriting) provides insight into the development of script and writing during this time.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Christian Imagery on Silk Textiles: The Annunciation Silk

Nazanin Hedayat Munroe, Artist and Art Historian

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The red Annunciation silk depicts the seated Virgin dressed in royal purple, receiving a message from the angel Gabriel, encircled by floral medallions referencing a jeweled garden. The fragment is believed to be part of the same textile as a Nativity scene that survives at the Vatican.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Fashion and Style in Byzantium

Nazanin Hedayat Munroe, Artist and Art Historian

Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012

In a post last week, Annie discussed how certain forms of dress distinguished cultural groups during the Byzantine era, but what about fashion and style?

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Dress Styles in the Mosaics of San Vitale

Nazanin Hedayat Munroe, Artist and Art Historian

Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012

The pinnacle of early imperial Byzantine dress is best seen in the mosaics of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora at the Church of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy (ca. 547 A.D.). Facing opposite one another in the apse of the church, each mosaic depicts the main figure bedecked in finery and accompanied by a retinue.

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Byzantium and Islam Exhibition Blog

Woven Silk

Nazanin Hedayat Munroe, Artist and Art Historian

Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012

Silk textiles were produced in Byzantium long before local weavers had figured out how to acquire and produce silk from silkworms. For centuries, the Chinese held a monopoly on the raw materials required to create these highly desired textiles.

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About this Blog

This blog accompanied the special exhibition Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, on view March 14–July 8, 2012.