"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Images from Byzantium

Books on icons continue to pour forth from all kinds of presses around the world. Interest in icons has never been higher, and it has become an ecumenical interest also. I started teaching a course on icons this fall to meet some of this interest, making use of a little known but quite extensive collection of icons in the possession of the University of Saint Francis in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The university was given the icons from two local families, neither of them, to my knowledge, Orthodox, but both nonetheless interested in iconography. In the last several years I can think of exhibitions of icons having been held in major museums in New York, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. The most recent exhibit that I saw was at the Museum of Biblical Art in Manhattan in July, "The Glory of Ukraine," featuring icons from primarily from the Kyivan Caves Lavra and the Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky Museum in Lviv, both of which I visited in 2001. (During that summer I was also able to visit the unforgettable Pochaev Monastery in central Ukraine, whose very famous icon recently toured across Canada to be venerated by crowds of people in every city on its itinerary.)

Now we have yet another book just published from Yale University Press:

Thomas F. Mathews, Byzantium: From Antiquity to the Renaissance (Yale U Press, 2010), 176pp. + 16 b/w and 106 color plates.

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