Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Byzantine and Christian Museum

About a month ago, we went to the Dali Sculpture exhibition at the BXM - Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens. Not a bad exhibition but a little smaller than I would have liked. Much sculpture and some prints which were not bad. I don't know - we have seen so much stuff that has pushed the envelope since Dali, that what we were looking at seemed almost normal or tame. We could still marvel at the three dimensionality of twisted christ (I may have a photo somewhere) or the surreality of his Aphrodites (picture above - note the ear-nose and throat), but there was something about the exhibition which I did not like. Maybe it is that the same scultpure was exhibited in two different sizes, next to each other, or like the Aphrodites above, but I think that the problem was that there was very little to look at. I'll get some photos of Dali up later.

In the meantime, I would like to introduce an occasional feature of the blog which will run until I get bored of it, called ByzMus picture of the day.

It's a tomb monument from very early Christian times - from late antiquity with that characteristic late antique depth to it. It's trying so hard to present a classical face in the subject matter, the poses and the clothing (although clothing would have been classical even then), but at the same time we see elements of what has been called the "stumpy-dumpy style" creeping in - like why is the horseman's hand almost the same size as the horse's head?

I like it because it is approaching the byzantine from late antique, you can almost feel the thresholdiness in the spirally striped columns and over-wrought elaborate designs to the pediment and other architectural bits behind the figures. At the same time, the eyes in the figures are normal - there is no trace of the fourth century's huge bug-eyes.

And that's all I am saying about this one for now.

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