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The extraordinary number and range of surviving icons within the Byzantine icon collection at the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai, Egypt, make it a unique tool for exploring the history and role of icons in the Byzantine Empire. Furthermore, the relatively recent rediscovery of these icons and the paucity of scholarship surrounding them only add brilliance to their tempera and gold-leaf surfaces. This sumptuously illustrated catalog—which accompanies an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum (through March 4) that includes 43 icons and six manuscripts and spans the sixth to the 13th centuries—is the first devoted solely to this collection. Essayists Nelson (history of art, Yale Univ.), Collins (curator, manuscripts, J. Paul Getty Museum), Thomas F. Mathews (history of art, Inst. of Fine Arts, NY), Father Justin Sinaites (librarian, St. Catherine, Sinai), and David Jacoby (history, Hebrew Univ., Jerusalem) do an admirable job of portraying the role of icons in the Byzantine Empire as well as at Saint Catherine, but it is the catalog entries that really sparkle. Each thoroughly crafted entry includes notes and references as well as a condition report and detailed notation of inscriptions. Recommended for all collections covering Byzantine art.
—Kraig Binkowski Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information