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Review: Rapt in Byzantine gold at Getty Villa's 'Heaven and Earth'
Review: Rapt in Byzantine gold at Getty Villa's 'Heaven and Earth'

Think of Byzantium, and a color leaps to mind. That color is gold. The empire ruled from the crossroads of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea for a thousand years between AD 324 and its final collapse in 1453. At the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, where a rare and stunning exhibition of Byzantine art recently opened, gold is everywhere. It's the ground on which biblical scenes unfold, from the tender nativity of Jesus to the brutal Passions and miraculous resurrection of Christ. It's in the air breathed by saints speaking to the faithful from painted manuscript pages. It's in the threads woven into tapestry cloths used in liturgical rituals on church altars, and it...

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