Icon of the Archangel Michael, Constantinople, twelfth century. Silver gilt on wood, gold cloisonné enamel, precious stones, 46.5 x 35 x 2.7 cm.
Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Tresoro, inv. no. 16.
Photo per gentile concessione della Procuratoria di San Marco/Cameraphoto Arte, Venice
Photo courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts
Byzantium 330 - 1453
LONDON • Royal Academy of Arts • Ongoing
Highlighting the splendours of the Byzantine Empire, Byzantium 330–1453 comprises around 300 objects including icons, detached wall paintings, micro-mosaics, ivories, enamels plus gold and silver metalwork.
The exhibition includes great works from the San Marco Treasury in Venice and rare items from collections across Europe, the USA, Russia, Ukraine and Egypt. The exhibition begins with the foundation of Constantinople in 330 AD by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great and concludes with the capture of the city by the Ottoman forces of Mehmed II in 1453. Highlights include a two-sided icon of Virgin Hodegetria (obverse) and the Man of Sorrows (reverse), 12th century, from the Byzantine Museum, Kastoria, a 10–11th century imperial ivory casket from Troyes cathedral depicting hunting scenes and riders and the Homilies of Monk James Kokkinobaphos, a manuscript from 1100–1150AD on loan from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. Also featured is
the Antioch Chalice, 500–550AD, on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. After its discovery in c.1911, the silver gilt artefact was believed to have been the Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper.
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