Exhibition of medieval masterpieces from Greece in U.S.
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Exhibition of medieval masterpieces from Greece in U.S.

«Heaven and Earth: Byzantine Illumination at the Cultural Crossroads» is an exhibition from March 25–June 22, 2014 at the Getty Center in L.A., where visitors will have the chance to see Medieval Masterpieces from Greece.

This exhibition explores the tradition of illumination in Byzantium as well as its influential role in both Eastern and Western Christian cultures. Six masterpieces on loan from Greece are shown alongside works drawn from the Getty Museum’s collection.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections, on view at the Getty Villa.

The exhibition was organised by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Athens, with the collaboration of the Benaki Museum, Athens, in association with the J. Paul Getty Museum and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The U.S. tour was made possible by major funding from OPAP S.A. Financial support was also provided by the A. G. Leventis Foundation.

The Byzantine Empire (A.D. 330—1453) was greatly admired for its courtly splendor and rich visual arts. Inspired by the legacy of Greco–Roman antiquity, Byzantine manuscript painters in Greece and Asia Minor (most of present–day Turkey) focused on the human figure while creating a deeply spiritual art form.The Christian Middle Ages is often conceived of as divided between East (including Byzantium, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Armenia) and West (churches that looked to Rome and the pope for authority). Although Western Christianity differed from Eastern Christianity—theologically, linguistically, and politically—the circulation of ideas among artists, patrons, and audiences in the two halves of the Christian world had a fundamental impact on manuscript painting. Trade, intermarriage, and military expeditions allowed for the dissemination of images and techniques across the expanse of the empire and beyond.