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Radiance: Light in Byzantium

April 7  –  August 31, 2009

Radiance focuses on the cultural meaning of light throughout the Byzantine Empire. Drawing on objects from the Dumbarton Oaks permanent collection, it examines different aspects and realms of light—divine, artificial, and natural light—and how each informed both visual artistic interpretation and the pragmatic considerations of church and domestic lighting.

The exhibition displays a wide variety of objects, including lighting devices, mosaics, and stained glass window fragments from the church monuments in Constantinople, as well as icons, inscribed pendant crosses, and elaborate decorative lamps and chandeliers. The display coincides with the release of Lighting in Early Byzantium, by Laskarina Bouras and Maria Parani, which catalogs lighting devices used throughout the early Byzantine Empire.