Collections byzantines du MAH - Genève
In 2004, the Museum of Art and History in Geneva received the donation of what amounted to a Byzantine treasure. The collection was bequeathed to the museum by Janet Zakos some time before her death and consists mainly of silver and bronze pieces of both a profane and sacred nature. It had been amassed with great passion by Janet Zakos herself, or previously by her husband, the art dealer and expert in woodcuts George Zakos.
The collection is especially well endowed with silverwork, but among the works Janet Zakos was most fond of are a number of bronze pieces, above all a wonderful set of votive hands, where the origin of these objects of worship shines through. Janet Zakos also left the museum several dozen ceramics, most of which glazed and incised. These pieces belonged to her husband and were almost certainly part of the cargo of a ship wrecked on the shores of Asia Minor. They are of the highest quality and, unlike other objects, they testify to the freedom of expression accorded to Byzantine craftsmen, both in subject matter and handling.
None of these pieces has ever previously been published and the collection has remained largely unknown up to the present time, except for visitors to the museum and the few people invited to admire it by Janet Zakos herself. This beautiful book for the first time brings the collection to the attention of the general public. It follows hard on the heels of two earlier books published by 5 Continents Editions on the Byzantine collections of the Museum of Art and History, one dedicated to icons and the other to early-Christian and Byzantine art.
Marielle Martiniani-Reber obtained her doctorate in the History of Art at the University of Lyon II and is an expert in Byzantine textiles. She is head curator of Byzantine and post-Byzantine collections in the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.