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Then and now



Benaki Museum
  Its extensive collections that cover several cultural fields make the Benaki Museum one of the most interesting Greek museums. Although not representative of all the different artistic tendencies and movements which flourished during the thousand-year Byzantine Empire, its Byzantine collection in the main building is exceptionally rich. Household vessels from the early Byzantine period (4th to 7th centuries AD) help to create a picture of the domestic surroundings of late antiquity.
 The important collection of decorative silver plates dating from the late 6th and early 7th century clearly preserves the subject matter of the artistic tradition of Greco-Roman antiquity and the manner of depicting the human figure. Likewise, the Museum’s collection of ceramic platters offers a rich selection of decorative themes. Several ecclesiastical vessels, censers and chalices, dating to the early Byzantine period, as well as other groups of objects cast light on contemporaneous trade, crafts and scientific advances. The entrancing collection of Byzantine jewellery includes golden necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings. Crosses, reliquaries, amulets and miniature steatite icons are indicative of the rich production of small-scale works of art in Byzantium, while superb censers and processional crosses are representative of ecclesiastical vessels and furnishings of the middle and late Byzantine periods.
 Finally, it is worth noting that the general public has always reserved its greatest affection for the Benaki Museum’s collection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons. (1 Koumbari Str & Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, tel. 2103671000, www.benaki.gr - Metro: Syntagma / Evangelismos)