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Ceremonies of Death in Byzantium

April 30, 1999 – May 2, 1999

This exhibition focuses on images of death—including those of Christ, the Virgin, holy men, clergy, and laymen—which were increasingly developed during the middle and late Byzantine periods. After two periods of Iconoclasm (726–787; 815–843), and after the theological debates about Christ's human nature, the depiction of Christ's Passion, death, and burial became central in Byzantine art; the Dormition of the Virgin was also introduced into christological cycles. Compilations of saints' Lives (menologia) included illustrations of the holy men's death. These images were in great demand for the decoration of churches, funeral chapels, book illuminations, and portable objects for private devotion. Pictorial representations of the death of Christ, the Virgin, and holy men served as models for the depiction of deceased clergy and laymen.

View the exhibit online (alternative link)