Art of Eastern Christianity
Ivory rosette casket
Among the Byzantine pieces is an ivory rosette casket from the twelfth century, a showpiece that is exhibited in the spectacular gallery of Romanesque and Mosan Art.
Currently on show from the Byzantine period are the finest of Greek and Russian icons. These can be seen in the area that links the reception hall with the ‘Grote Narthex’. From the Greek world, there is the Enthroned Pantocrator, the Synaxis of the Archangels, the Crucifixion and the St. Meletios, all dating from the seventeenth or the eighteenth century. An icon of Christ the King and Great High Priest is depicted on a rare, 18th-century cathedra or bishop’s seat in worked and gilded wood.
From Northern Russia come three masterpieces dating from around 1500. The icon of St. John the Evangelist is a beautiful, monumental two-register icon, probably from the vicinity of Novgorod. The Mandylion icon is likewise from Novgorod and was reframed in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. It depicts the face of Jesus as it would have been printed on a ‘mandylion’ or piece of cloth. The third masterpiece is the icon with the Synaxis of the Mother of God. ‘Synaxis’ means ‘assembly’: on the day after the birth of Christ, all creatures gathered to honour Mary by singing special hymns.