Thursday, 29 January 2009

Byzantine museum, Corfu

One of Corfu's oldest buildings holds a surprise for those holiday makers who venture inside - one of Greece's most extensive collections of Byzantine artefacts.

The Byzantine Museum, which is found within the 15th-century Panaghia Antivouniotissa (Our Lady Opposite The Mountain) church in Corfu Town's historic Campielo quarter, was restored by the Greek government as a museum after falling into disrepair.

Re-opened in 1984, the museum exhibits a very wide selection of Byzantine icons - early Christian art still widely used in Eastern Orthodox religious rituals which typically depict Christ and the Christ child.

An altar-cloth from Russia, along with Michael Damaskenos' Icon of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, and St Justina, form particular highlights of the museum's collection.

The art of the Byzantine civilisation, which flourished around Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the early middle ages, is widely thought to have been a direct influence on Italian Renaissance artists.

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