Ways of Seeing Byzantium: An Introduction, Part 1
William Tronzo, visiting faculty, University of California, San Diego. Held in conjunction with the exhibition Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections, on view from October 6, 2013, through March 2, 2014, at the National Gallery of Art, this symposium takes its name and perspective from art critic and novelist John Peter Berger’s 1972 book Ways of Seeing. Noted scholars Glenn Peers, Bissera Pentcheva, William Tronzo, and Alicia Walker seek to place the Heaven and Earth exhibition objects in context by answering questions generated by Berger’s book: What world did these objects constitute in Byzantium and how did they form it? What values did they embody or create? How were they used and understood? Conversely what world do these objects constitute for us now? How do we understand them? And most important, then and now, are these works considered art?