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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2005

Media Contact:
Amy Mannarino    
410-547-9000, ext. 277    
amannarino@thewalters.org

THIS SPRING THE WALTERS ART MUSEUM PRESENTS RARE TWO-YEAR LOAN HIGHLIGHTS BYZANTINE AND MEDIEVAL ART

Baltimore–Opening April 30, 2005, the Walters Art Museum is pleased to present Byzantine Art from the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, a special two-year loan from the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C. Due to gallery renovations which began at the end of 2004, Dumbarton Oaks is closed, and 17 objects from their collection will be on view at the Walters. While the great strength of Dumbarton Oaks holdings lies in Byzantine art from the 4th through 15th centuries, the collection also includes important works of medieval art from western Europe.

"This loan brings together two of the foremost collections of Byzantine art in the world," said Walters Director Gary Vikan. "The installation of Dumbarton Oaks' objects at the Walters offers a rare opportunity to see these great collections side by side."

Among the highlights of the loan are a remarkable icon of St. Peter, one of the most significant icons now in America, and an exceptional marble relief of the Intercessory Virgin. The magnificent Icon of St. Peter (Macedonian, 14th century) will be on view in the museum's Byzantine gallery. Originally, this painting was probably paired with an icon of St. Paul on an iconostasis, a screen made of icons that separates the altar sanctuary from the nave in Orthodox churches. In this unique instance, the golden keys of Paradise hang around St. Peter's neck. By accentuating Peter's wrinkles and the shadows on his body, the artist gave the saint a remarkable emotional intensity and an almost tangible presence. Both of St. Peter's ears are visible despite his turned head, emphasizing that the saint is receptive to prayers.

The monumental Relief of the Virgin as Intercessor (Byzantine, mid-11th century) will be showcased in the Byzantine gallery. Mary looks out at the viewer, her foot extending into our space. Her body, however, is at an angle, and she gestures to her left with her head inclined suggesting that this panel would originally have been paired with another one depicting Christ. Mary's pose represents her spiritual role as mediator between the faithful and her son. Visitors to the museum will be able to imagine the original, more colorful appearance of the relief, which was most likely painted.

Several ivories from Dumbarton Oaks will also be on view in the Byzantine gallery. Selected objects from their collection will be paired with related Walters' pieces in the adjacent medieval galleries.

Admission and Hours
Museum admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens (65+), $6 for college students with ID (18-25), $2 for children ages 6-17 and free for children under 6 and for members. Admission to the permanent collection is free on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and all day on the first Thursday of every month. Museum hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The museum is also closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  The Walters will be open Monday and Tuesday, December 27 and 28 and is open on New Year's Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum is located in Baltimore's historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre streets and is one of only a few museums worldwide to present a comprehensive history of art from the third millennium B.C. to the early 20th century. Among its thousands of treasures, the Walters holds the finest collection of ivories, jewelry, enamels and bronzes in America and a spectacular reserve of illuminated manuscripts and rare books. The Walters' Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Byzantine, Ethiopian and western medieval art collections are among the best in the nation, as are the museum's holdings of Renaissance and Asian art. Every major trend in French painting during the 19th century is represented by one or more works in the Walters' collection.

Peabody Court is the official hotel of the Walters Art Museum. This historic property is just around the corner from the museum and features George's, a full-service restaurant. For hotel reservations, call 1-800-292-5500 and ask for the special Walters discounted rate.