COLLECTIONS / Manuscripts, Codices, Early Printed Books, Engravings and Drawings

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The Byzantine Museum owns at least 500 Byzantine and post-Byzantine manuscripts, dating from the 6th to the 19th century. 
These are of exceptional interest not only because of their content but also because they provide invaluable information on the history and use of the manuscript book, and on the development of script, illustration and bookbinding.
The Early Printed Books of the Museum, about 300 in number, were printed between 16th and 19th c. in the most important printing houses in Venice, Balkan Peninsula and Central Europe. These publications show clearly that the Greek intellectuals of the Diaspora played a decisive role in creating the publishing industry in Europe and the Balkans in the early decades of the sixteenth century, and hence in the spread of intelligentsia in these areas.
The Museum’s Engravings Collection contains more than 600 woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, chromolithographies, and printed antimensia dated in 18th and 19th c. The collection documents the widespread circulation of prints during this period, especially in the Balkans, as well as their close relationship with contemporary painting. 
Of particular importance is also the Museum’s Collection of Drawings, which includes more than 3200 works on paper. This contains, inter alia, ensamples of sketches by painters that were noteworthy exponents of the Nazarene painting in Greece in the second half of the 19th century, like Ludwig August Johann Thiersch and Spyridon Chatzigiannopoulos. The Collection also includes anthibola, working sketches (ink, pencil, charcoal on paper, sometimes also coloured) made by post-Byzantine painters that are dated between the 17th and 19th century.
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