Byzantine Art at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art

Of course trees weren’t the only thing that inspired me during my trip to NYC.  I went to many museums and saw an amazing amount of great art in a short time.  I visited the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art five times and still barely scratched the surface of their collection and special exhibits.

On my first visit to the Metropolitan I didn’t even get off of the first floor.  As I am drawn to all things ancient I wandered first through the Byzantine and Medieval Collection.  The former apse beneath the Great Hall Stairs is now part of the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries for Byzantine Art.

Unlike the special exhibits, these are rooms where one can spend a long time contemplating the art without the jostling and noise of crowds and guides.  I felt myself transported back in time as I spent time with this work.

Here is a stone architectural fragment which shows a good example of the Egyptian Coptic cross.  The Coptic Church is the Christian church of Egypt, established by Mark in the 1st century.  The early Gnostics and Copts were probably attracted by the form and symbolism of the Egyptian ankh.  The  ankh is the Egyptian hieroglyphic character which means life and is often seen in the hands of the Gods and Goddesses symbolizing eternal life . The Copts used this ancient symbol to express their belief in Christ as the bringer of eternal life.

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