Icons, artifacts from Albania to be shown

The Museum of Byzantine Culture is preparing an exhibition for January that is important on two fronts: first, because it will be showing, for the first time in Greece, icons and other ecclesiastical items from the Orthodox communities in Albania, and, secondly, because this exhibition is part of a five-year program of cooperation. The exhibition, while will run through April, brings together 72 impressive items which have been salvaged from the 88 that were restored within the framework of cooperation between the museum and the European Center for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments and the National Museum of Medieval Art in Korce. The total number of Orthodox icons that have been found in Albania comes to 6,500. Aside from the exhibition, the cooperation agreement also included training programs for Albanian restorers in new methods and technologies. What this exhibition presents is a panorama of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine art, as it developed in the Balkan region from the 14th to the 19th centuries. The icons also display signatures and dedications that shed light on locations, the names of monasteries, patrons and painters. The icons, explains curator Susanna Houlia-Kapeloni, «certify the presence of Byzantine Greek culture and education in the regions from which the icons originate. They also illustrate the manner in which artistic trends and schools of thought, which developed in Greece, traveled to the Balkans.»