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			The Arts of Byzantium [pp. 1+4-68]
			Director's Note [pp. 2-3]
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			The Arts of Byzantium [pp. 1+4-68]
			Director's Note [pp. 2-3]
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

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Page 2

The Arts of Byzantium

Helen C. Evans

Melanie Holcomb

Robert Hallman

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve, and extend access to

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin
www.jstor.org

®

Page 35

Plate with Presentation of David to
Saul

Plate with Battle of David and Goliath

Silver, cast, hammered, engraved, punched,
and chased
Byzantine, found in 1902 at Karavas, Cyprus
Made 629-30, in Constantinople
Diam. 101/2 in. (26.7 cm); 191/2 in. (49.4 cm)

Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 191 7
(17.190.397, .396)

A set of nine beautifully worked silver

plates was among an impressive hoard of

gold and silver objects found at Karavas,
a small town near Lambousa (ancient

Lapithos), on Cyprus's northern shore.

(The plates are now divided between the

Metropolitan Museum and the Cyprus

Museum, Nicosia.) Cyprus was an impor-
tant trading center in the eastern Med-
iterranean during the Early Byzantine era.
The treasure may have been buried by a

wealthy person or family in the mid-

600s, as Arabs invaded the island and the

Early Byzantine period came to an end.
The decoration on the plates illus-

trates events early in the life of the Old
Testament king David-up to his slaying
of Goliath and his marriage to Michal,

daughter of King Saul. The plates are

grouped by size: there are four small

plates, four medium-size plates, and one

great plate (opposite and detail p. 36).
On the medium-size plates events from
David's life are presented before an
arcaded lintel, an architectural form that

was often used in Byzantine art in depic-
tions of the imperial court. The symmetry
of the design is also typical of Byzantine
imperial art, suggesting the taxis, or

harmony and order, that the emperor
was supposed to provide for his people.

Above, David is presented to King Saul,
as described in 1 Samuel 17:32-34. He
stands bravely before the seated ruler,

asserting his willingness to battle the

giant Goliath.
The David plates, with their naturalis-

tically rendered figures, fall within the
classical tradition of elegantly wrought
silver for domestic use. Elaborate dishes

displayed at banquets in the Byzantine
Empire were usually decorated with
classical subjects. The David plates may

34

Page 36

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Page 69

Acknowledgments

This publication is dedicated to the

memory of Margaret English Frazer

(1940-1999), for many years the
Museum's specialist in Byzantine art
as a curator in the Department of
Medieval Art and The Cloisters.

Special thanks must be offered to Peter

Barnet, Michel David-Weill curator in

charge of the Department of Medieval
Art and The Cloisters, who brought great
support and enthusiasm to the develop-
ment of the Mary and Michael Jaharis
Galleries, the first step in his planned
reinstallation of all the medieval galleries.

I am indebted to many people for their
assistance in the research for the new

galleries, which served as a basis for this
Bulletin. William D. Wixom, former head
of the department, and Katharine R.

Brown, the Museum's former specialist
in early medieval art, made important
contributions early on in the project.

Jennifer L. Ball, Sarah Brooks, Hope
Cullinan, Maria Fragopoulou, Lyle
Humphrey, Daphne Kostopoulos, Patricia

Lurati, Judy Ofek, Daniel Perrier,
Aranzazu M. Sarasola, Vega Solana, and
Tarra Zynda were fellows, interns, and
volunteers who also aided the project.
Professors Thelma K. Thomas, Angela
C. Hero, and Henry Maguire are col-

leagues outside of the Museum who

provided valuable assistance. Within
the department Barbara D. Boehm
and Charles T. Little, curators; Christine

Brennan, collections information coordi-

nator; Robert Theo Margelony, assistant for

administration; and Thomas C. Vinton,
principal departmental technician, must
be thanked for their advice and efforts.

I am deeply grateful to other Museum

colleagues, particularly the talented
members of our conservation and design
departments, for their unstinting efforts
in the successful completion of the new

galleries. HCE

68

Page 70

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