The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY held an exhibition in 1977 entitled “Age of Spirituality”, presenting the first centuries of Byzantium to a US audience through original artifacts of the time.
In 1996, a second grandiose exhibition followed entitled “The Glory of Byzantium”, emphasizing the mid-Byzantine era.
This year, the MET will present a new exhibition entitled “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition” focusing on the transition era from the Byzantine to the Islam world by recording the development of the Southern provinces of the empire in the 7th century AD.
The exhibition will be open from March 14 until July 8 and will be organized around three themes: the secular and religious character of the Byzantine state’s southern provinces in the first half of the seventh century; the continuity of commerce in the region even as the political base was transformed; and the emerging arts of the new Muslim rulers of the region.
According to a MET press release, “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition” represents the first major museum exhibition to focus on this pivotal era in the history of the eastern Mediterranean. Through some 300 exceptional works of art, the landmark presentation will reveal the artistic and cultural adaptations and innovations that resulted during the initial centuries of contact between these two worlds.
The works are drawn primarily from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum and the Benaki Museum of Athens, and also include many stellar loans from other institutions in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.
Major support has been provided by Mary and Michael Jaharis, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Hagop Kevorkian Fund. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.