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“Fair Greece, Sad Relic”: How Did Byzantium Reform Classical Greek Art?

Robin Cormack, professor emeritus of art history, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. When Lord Byron went to Greece in 1810, it was the art and culture of antiquity that attracted him. The appreciation of the art of Christian Greece is very modern. Sometimes this Byzantine art is seen as a “decline” from classical art and sometimes as a new and progressive art form. In this lecture recorded on February 27, 2014, at the National Gallery of Art, Robin Cormack considers ways of looking at Byzantine art on the basis of the Gallery’s exhibition Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections. In this first-ever exhibition of Byzantine art at the Gallery, some 170 works, many never before lent to the United States, are on view through March 2, 2014. This program was coordinated with and supported by Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.