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The Road to Byzantium - Somerset House

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

A MAJOR exhibition entitled The Road to Byzantium: Luxury Arts of Antiquity, will run from March 30 to September 3, 2006, in the Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House.

It will feature an extraordinary collection of classical Greek, Roman and Byzantine luxury artworks from The State Hermitage Museum In St Petersburg, including finely decorated silver and gold, Athenian red-figure vases and exquisite cameos.

These objects, which have seldom been seen outside Russia, tell a little-known story of the development of art and civilisation over more than a thousand years – from 6th century BC Greece to the Middle Ages – and overturn familiar assumptions about the period.

As well as selected treasures from the Hermitage (over 160), there will objects from the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Among them, you can expect to see the famous First Swallows of Spring vase from the late 6th century BC; a cameo decorated with a lively scene of Alexander the Great hunting wild boar; and an incredible group of silver and silver-gilt dishes which can be dated accurately from control stamps on their bases to the 6th and 7th centuries AD.

The exhibition, timed to coincide with the International Byzantine Conference being held in London in August 2006, promises to make a profound impact upon our understanding of the period.

Tickets: Adult £5, Concessions £4

Open daily from 10am to 6pm (last admission 5.15pm)

For further information call 020 7845 4630 or visit the website.