Byzantine and Medieval
Byzantine artifacts and icon paintings, along with medieval art, account for some 2,000 works in the Menil Collection. Culled primarily from the Mediterranean world, Asia Minor, and Russia, they provide a survey of European art informed by medieval aesthetics.
Included are a number of rare pieces, such as a gold casket from early sixth-century Macedonia. With its small dimensions and ascetic design, it most likely functioned as an early Christian funerary object. Also among the holdings is a sixteenth-century Russian icon, Saint George and the Dragon, one of the best exemplars of the school of Novgorod.
Other noteworthy works include a fourth- or fifth-century silver Paten, a liturgical altar object of significance in terms of its quality, rarity, and meaning; Head of a Bearded Man, a Gothic cast most likely from the royal domain of King Philip IV (ca. 1300); Emmanuel Lampardos’s Saint Onuphrius, a painting that elicits the grandeur of the great fourteenth-century Byzantine murals of the Balkans; and Archangels Michael and Gabriel, (ca. 1380) executed with tempera and gold over gesso and cloth.