The exhibition of Greek icons entitled “Splendor of Heaven,” will have its grand opening Thursday, October 11 at the Arsenal of Princes Czartoryski Museum – a branch of the National Museum.
“Splendor of Heaven” will present Greek paintings from the Emilios Velimezis Collection, which was formed during the years 1934-1946. Initially, the collection consisted of approximately 90 representations of religious figures form various regions of Greece, dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Many of the icons on display derive from the workshops of Venetian-occupied Crete. Its main city, Candia, was the last great center of icon painting after the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans in 1453. This is the first exhibition of its kind in Poland, offering the opportunity to become aware of the magnificent culture of the Byzatine Empire.
Art lovers will have the chance to admire the splendid works by the artists who created the post-Byzantine aesthetics. Among the most interesting pieces, viewers will see the Virgin of Tenderness from the circle of Andreas Ritzos, icons from the Emanuel Tzanes and Nikolaos Kallergis masterpieces, and an icon in the form of a small altarpiece with the representation of The Passion of the Christ, a work by famous Domenikos Theotokopoulos (known as El Greco).
“Splendor of Heaven” is a traveling exhibition which has already been presented in the British Library in London; where it accompanied the International Congress of Byzantine Studies in August 2006, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Because the exhibition precedes the opening of a permanent Orthodox art collection in the National Museum of Krakow’s newly restored Bishop Erazm Ciolek Palace on ul. Kanonicza, it bears a very special significance to the museum. Being that both exhibitions date back to the 15th-16th centuries, one may note close similarities between both collections, such as in color, form and modeling.
“Splendor of Heaven” will be on display until January 13, 2008. Honorary patronage of the exhibition is held by the Polish and Greek presidents- Lech Kaczynski and Karolos Papoulias. The co-organizer is the Benaki Museum in Athens.
The opening of the exhibition will take place on October 11 at 18:00 in the Arsenal of Princes Czartoryski Museum in Krakow, ul. Pijarska 8.