Art opening reception: Byzantine Things in the World

Photo by Paul Hester

To the Christian faithful in the Eastern Roman Empire, works of art were not inert objects, suitable only for contemplation, but earthly embodiments of a supernatural force, spiritually "alive" and capable of acting in the world. This belief in the literal efficacy of icons and relics has withered in the modern world — and yet many modern and contemporary artists have continued the tradition in their own way, evoking a sense that the materials they use are charged with inherent power.

Exploring this connection across the centuries and bringing together a fascinating range of the museum's renowned holdings, the Menil presents the exhibition Byzantine Things in the World. Curated by Glenn Peers, professor of Early Medieval and Byzantine Art at the University of Texas at Austin, the exhibition features works that date from circa 9,000 BCE to the present, but focus especially on the Menil's rich collection of Byzantine art (4th to 15th centuries CE).

The exhibition juxtaposes more than 70 remarkable objects, reawakening a sense of how people in late antiquity experienced art and bringing Byzantium's aura into the present day.

Peers will offer an illustrated lecture during the opening.

On view through Aug. 18.



The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006


Admission is free.
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