essay on byzantine art

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essay on byzantine art

Early Christian and Byzantine Art

Early Christian and Byzantine Art Early Christian and Byzantine art started after Jesusí death in the first century ranging and ending to the fourth century AD. The art produced during this period was secretive because Christianity was not a formal religion but as a cult; the Romans and rest of Europe persecuted Christians so the artist disguised their work with symbols and hints of Christian aspects. Christianity was the first cult to not involve rituals of sacrifice of animals and refused

Byzantine Art Paper

Byzantine art is almost entirely concerned with religious appearance and can be understood many times on the walls of the churches during that time. This was a time of great expression when it comes to how people viewed religion and the many connections to God overall. In the church ceiling, there were numerous interpretations of God and the many things he did in the bible, this really shows the desire the byzantine people had when it comes to worship and manifestation. The reason why the church

The Power of Symbolism in Byzantine Art

The Power of Symbolism in Byzantine Art ABSTRACT: Our deeply visual culture today shows the fascination humanity has with the power of images. This paper intends to discuss the use and importance of images within the context of Byzantine art. The works produced in the service of the Eastern Orthodox Church still employed today, show a remarkable synthesis of doctrine, theology and aesthetics. The rigid program of Church decoration was meant as a didactic element to accompany the liturgy. The

Arts in the Time of the Byzantine

I hevi chusin thi epsi museoc on Sen Voteli (Chrost woth Sen Voteli, Boshup Ecclisoas, end twu engil, 526-547) end dumi Museoc on thi Charch uf thi Durmotoun (Chrost Pentucretur, ce1090-1100). Thi epsi museoc wes crietid on ierly Byzentoni end thi dumi museoc wes crietid on moddli Byzentoni. Thi dipoctoun uf Chrost bitwiin thi wurks eri qaoti doffirint. I thonk thi must ubsirvebli os thi eppierenci uf Chrost. Frum thi epsi museoc on Sen Voteli, wi cen sii thet thi Chrost os clien-shevin end

Research Paper On Byzantine Art

Byzantine art thrived from the sixth to the fifteenth century. Art in the Byzantine world was mostly concerned with religious terminologies. The Byzantine Empire believed that Christianity unified them. During this era, the artists wanted to interpret church spirituality into artistic terms. That’s why they depict what cannot be seen. Meaning they like to artistically create the realm of Heaven because no one has seen it for themselves. They want to give others the idea of what paradise will look

Byzantine Art: Justinian And His Attendants

Dariela Flores Dec. 6, 2015 Essay 1 One of the themes of Byzantine art was to portray abstraction, representation and spirituality in mosaics and icons. For example the “Emperor Justinian and His Attendants” from San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy ca. 547 CE. In Medieval art books were created to make “material the word of God” and support the spread of Christianity. An example of this being the Chi Rho Iota page, from the book of Kells ca. 800. Probably from Iona, Scotland, Tempera on Vellum. These two

Similarities and Differences Between Ancient Greek and Byzantine Art

the Roman Empire, Byzantine artwork incorporated aspects of Greek art within their own artwork. The purpose of this investigation is to compare and contrast art in ancient Greece and Byzantium. Recognizing the similarities and differences between two related cultures is vital in understanding the evolution of art from one culture to another. Within this investigation designs/patterns and symbols will be researched in the Greek Classical Period (ca. 480-323 BCE) and the Byzantine Golden Age (ca. 850-1050

Renaissance Break from the Byzantine Style

Cenni di Pepo) and Giotto di Bondone both stepped away from Medieval and Byzantine style and moved forward into a human focused, Proto-Renaissance style. Although each painter made this movement toward the Renaissance style, each did it in their own style and way. Cimabue pursued a new naturalism which was a close observation of the natural world; this aspect of his style challenged many major conventions of late medieval art. Giotto also pursued a naturalistic approach of representation that was

Medieval Enamelling Techniques and Artists

"These colors, they say, the barbarians of the [Atlantic] Ocean spread on hot bronze; they take on body, become solid and preserve what has been depicted" (Icones, I, xxxviii). But it was the Byzantine goldsmiths between the fourth and tenth centuries that developed the technique of enamelling into an art form. They took the technique of Cloisonné enamelling and developed it to produce highly stylised figurative works. In this technique flat wire or cloisons from the French word for partition

Blessed Luke

Blessed Luke Background of Saint Luke ? Saint Luke was born in 896 A.D. most likely in Delphi or in nearby Kastri in Central Greece.[1]? He is known today as Blessed Luke, Luke the Younger, St. Luke of Stiris, and Luke the Wonderworker (Thaumaturgus in Greek).? ?His parents were farmers in Thessaly.?[2]? Originally from Egina, St. Luke?s parents fled the island when the Saracens attacked it. Saracens was the name that Medieval Europeans used to describe the Arabs and all Muslims in general

The Cathedrals of Cefalu and Monreale

1130-1194. London: Penguin, 1992. Runeiman, Steven. "Sicily: An Introduction." Mediterranean Studies 5 (1955): 1-5. Sheppard, Carl D., Jr. "Iconography of the Cloister of Monreale." The Art Bulletin 31, no. 3 (1949): 159-69. Sheppard, Carl D., Jr. "A Stylistic Analysis of the Cloister of Monreale." The Art Bulletin 34, no. 1 (1952): 35-41. Takayama, Hiroshi. "Central Power and Multi-Cultural Elements at the Norman Court of Sicily." Mediterranean Studies 12 (2003): 1-15. Tronzo, William

celebrated for its stunning ancient mosaics and rich history. Ravenna's prosperous past is evident in its wealth of still-standing examples of Byzantine art and architecture. Positioned near the Adriatic Sea on a marshy plain, Ravenna has served as a strategic ?capital three times: of the western Roman Empire, of Theodoric King of the Goths, and of the Byzantine Empire in Europe? (History, par. 1). By delving into Ravenna?s history, as well as its remarkable artistic achievements, the reasoning behind

Domtar Case Study Summary

1. How did Domtar’s strategies align with its mission? Explain your answer. The Domtar's strategies introduced by the Royer focusing and targetting on the statement of purpose in a more extended manner. He essentially presented two strategies which are the client benefit through training and degree of profitability (return of investment). These strategies are concentrated on three fundamental factors for the growth and survival in the industry. To make this strategies beneficial, the Royer chose

Rises and Declines of the Byszantium and Islamis Kingdoms

and the Islamic Kingdom. While both experienced this post-classical development, there are many keen differences in their rises and declines. The Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Caliphates shared similarities in their economic and artistic and intellectual development, while their religious beliefs differed and coincided at the same time. The Byzantine Empire relied heavily on trade. These people were able to travel along a revived Silk Road and through the nearby Mediterranean Sea, which lead to

The Brilliant Byzantines

There are Romans and there are Greeks but who was better in ancient times? Neither were, the Byzantines outlasted both the Greeks and the Romans. Two of the greatest empires come together to make an empire that lasted from ancient times to the beginning of modern times. The Byzantine’s were an empire that lasted for a long time, however its start took a great deal of time. The Byzantine Empire started from a colony in Greece but it didn’t become an empire for a while after becoming a colony. It

The Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Caliphate

philosophy. There are many similarities that should be compared between the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Caliphates. The Islamic Caliphates adopted an administrative structure based on Byzantine models. Caliphs of the Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad were absolute monarchs. They assumed new names when they started ruling and claimed divine support for their authority. The decline began when local regimes took up power. In the Byzantine state, the emperor became the sole and absolute ruler. The Senate ceased

The Beginning of Christian Art In the first two centuries of Christianity there weren’t any form of art recorded. Christians meet in small groups in a private phone and conducted simple services. In these services they would eat wine and bread that reminded them of Christ sacrifice on the cross. (Lamm 175) Christian symbols were a major form of art in the earlier years of Christian art. The Egyptian, Greek, and Romans artist had different symbols that represented different things. The Greeks

Byzantine Achievement

referred to as the Byzantine Empire) would continue to exist, and thrive until its ultimate fall in 1453 CE. The success of the Eastern Empire was due to the highly desirable trade location of the capital, Constantinople, and a powerful sense of nationalism within the empire. Between the historic reign of Justinian and the Great Schism of 1054 CE, more specific contributions in areas such as art, writing, and scholarship were achieved in the Empire. The contributions the Byzantine Empire made during

Byzantium Vs Greek Art

evaluation of sources This investigation attempts to answer the question of what are the comparisons and contractions of ancient Greece and Byzantium art? This question is relevant because it will show the difference and similarities between the two different eras. The issues that will be addressed are the similarities of the art and the differences of the art in ancient Greece and Byzantium. This investigation will focus on the time period of the Greek Classical Period in 480-323 BCE and Golden Age of

The Influence of Byzantine Culture on the Renaissance

Plato, Aristotle, mosaics, and icons have in common? They are all important parts of Byzantine culture, which spans the course of over 1,000 years, from the fall of Rome to the decline of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines were important facilitators of the Renaissance. The Byzantines preserved Greek and Roman traditions and created many of their own, which would have a great impact during the Renaissance. Byzantine culture begins with the establishment of the city Constantinople by Emperor Constantine

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History of Byzantine Art: The Late Roman Mediterranean Civic Culture Essay

Byzantine civilisation is a major part of world history and culture. ‘Byzantium’ is the name describing both the state as well as the culture of the Eastern Roman Empire in the middle Ages. It was an extension of the Roman Empire in the east, being called ‘Eastern Roman Empire’ because it governed over the eastern part of the empire. Being a large multi-ethnic Christian state founded on a system of urban centres and protected by a strong and skilled mobile army, the Byzantine Empire preserved the most important foundations of the Late Roman Mediterranean civic culture. Historians are nearly unanimous in claiming it began in the year 330 A.D when then Roman emperor Constantine the Great decreed that the Roman capital be shifted from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed as Constantinople. The Byzantine Empire lasted until the year 1453 A.D, its end coming when the Turks conquered Constantinople. The Turks went on to rename Constantinople as Istanbul. Byzantine art was the peculiar style of Eastern Orthodox Christian art that developed and sustained steady growth during the period of the Byzantine Empire. Although the empire historically began in 330 A.D, Byzantine art became distinctly apparent only in 500 A.D during the rule of emperor Justinian. Byzantine works of art were created with basically two aims – to serve the Eastern Orthodox Christian religion, and to work for the imperial court. Byzantine artists were unnamed and unnoticed, either employed in the court or as members of the Orthodox Christian church. The artists were not permitted to indulge in personal fancies but had to follow strict guidelines that controlled and influenced the content and pattern of all artistic works. The overall director of Byzantine art was the emperor in his role as the head of the government and the head of the national church. Two cognitive artistic traditions had a pronounced effect on Byzantine art: Early Christian and Classical traditions. Early Christian tradition, heavily influenced as it was spiritually, favoured art forms that had flat, two-bodily form or proportion figures created from patterns existing only in the mind and separated from embodiment, mainly to stress on their holy nature. Classical tradition was totally founded on early art of the Romans and Greeks. It was based on tangible and earthly reality; this emphasis was apparent in the art creations that featured fully modelled, natural looking lifelike images drawn as a result of measured and objective assessment. The Byzantine Empire is famous for its unique churches, magnificent structures, some of whom still survive. Byzantine churches were constructed out of brick and mortar. The façade was plain and exposed, meant to symbolise the outside world. The interiors were grandly decorated with magnificent colourful murals depicting religious figures and scenes meant to symbolise the ideal or spiritual world. The outstanding feature of Early Byzantine churches was the square central bay overlooked by a majestic dome that was sustained by massive arches built on four pillars. Galleries and aisles were constructed around the bay, which is essentially an open area between pillars. The area around the altar, which is the most sacred part of the church (called its ‘sanctuary’), was positioned east of the bay with three semicircular recesses called ‘apses.’ The sanctuary was partitioned from the rest of the church by a tall screen called ‘iconostasis.’ Priests conducted services for the public from the sanctuary, while the people were positioned in the galleries and aisles. The fundamental structure of the church involved a combination of a horizontal and vertical axis within one supporting structure; the former extending from the sanctuary to the west entrance, and the latter formed by the central dome. The outstanding example of such a horizontal and vertical axis combination is Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia.

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(Hagia Sophia)

Hagi Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) was dedicated on Christmas Day, 537 A.D, as a replacement of the church dedicated in 360 A.D which was destroyed during the Nika riots of January 532 A.D. The church, which continues to stand as one of the greatest achievements of world architecture, drew such admiration as ‘the perfect church,’ that it completely changed Byzantine imagination. It’s design, which maintained a longitudinal axis but was overlooked by its huge central dome, was intended to depict the church as a picture of the world with the dome of heaven hanging above, from which the Holy Spirit came down during the liturgical rites. Centuries later, just before the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, George Sphrantzes wrote of it, “that most huge and all-holy Church of the Wisdom of God, that Heaven upon earth, throne of the glory of God, the second firmament and chariot of cherubs, the handiwork of God, a marvellous and worthy work, the delight of the entire earth, beautiful and more lovely than the beautiful.” Another outstanding example of Early Byzantine architecture is Hagia Irene in Istanbul.

Hagia Irene

Later Byzantine architecture was not as large and extravagant as featured in the earlier period. Later Byzantine architects developed a new plan called ‘cross-in-square,’ whereby churches featured four corner bays (symbolising the four arms of a Greek cross) with arched roofs, positioned at 90 degrees to one another, which opened out from the central bay and dome. Domes were constructed over each corner bay. The high structures that supported the central and corner bay domes, called ‘drums,’ had many windows. Churches built during this period also have a little exterior decoration. 15 A famous exponent of Later Byzantine ‘cross-in-square’ architecture is Hosios Lukas in Greece.

Hosios Lukas

Later Byzantine art was modified in the centuries that followed in regions like Russia, Serbia, Armenia and Italy, where architects changed the Byzantine pattern to suit their building materials, technical methodology and climatic conditions. A persistent characteristic of Byzantine art and architecture of all periods was the mosaics and frescoes that featured in the interiors of all Byzantine churches. Mosaics are small pieces of glass joined together to shape a pattern or picture. Such glass, called ‘smalti,’ consists of thick sheets of special coloured glass characterised by an abrasive surface and the presence of little air bubbles in its interior. Byzantine mosaics reflect a strong use of colour with images having large eyes, appearing stiff and flat and seem to be floating.

Mosaic in ceiling of Baptistery in Florence, Italy

Frescoes are wall paintings drawn on wet plaster.

The Nativity Frescoe in Agios Ioannis Theologos church in Margarites, Greece

The frescoes reflected the belief of Byzantines that emperors and saints were special attendants of God because they were depicted as solemn, bearded men who wore lavishly jewelled robes and carried elaborately decorative jewelled items.

Coronation Cloak of Roger II of Sicily

The frescoes also depicted the theme of torment and mutilation, reflecting the Byzantine belief that is morally and ethically better to mutilate prisoners rather than kill them. The church authorities organized the order of depicting religious pictures – Jesus Christ was given top rank, his portrait featuring in the central dome. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was given second rank, her portrait positioned at the top of the main apse. Third rank was given to the prominent scenes in the life of Jesus Christ, which were depicted on the central parts of the church walls and pillars. The lowest rank was given to saints and church leaders, whose portraits were depicted on the lower parts of the church walls and pillars. Byzantine artists favoured the frontal view in their portraits against a background of gold mosaic or one colour of paint. The permission to allow Jesus Christ to be painted emanated from the fact that He chose to take the form of a human being in order to save mankind. Unfortunately, very few frescoes and mosaics that were created before 800 A.D still exist, as most were ruined in the century preceding that period as a consequence of the ‘iconoclastic controversy’ when a segment of Christians called ‘iconoclasts’ were against adulation of such religious pictures in churches and forcibly removed or demolished the frescoes and mosaics. In the period following the iconoclastic controversy, Byzantine mosaics and frescoes passed through three stages of development, each subsequent stage characterised by a slight and not obvious change in style. The first stage involved a stylishly graceful, controlled style that is best visualised in the church of Daphni, near Athens in Greece. The second stage involved a bolder, strikingly impressive style that can be seen in the Norman churches in Sicily, Italy. The last stage involved heightened feelings and emotions shown in story like account of a sequence of events that is well exemplified in the church of Kariye Camii in Istanbul, Turkey. Apart from frescoes and mosaics, Byzantine art also developed panel pictures, book decorations, and Byzantines indulged in many crafts. Panel pictures, called ‘icons,’ are images considered holy and worthy of worship.

Icon of The Saviour in Sinai Peninsula

Icons are painted on pieces of wood and generally held in the hand during a religious procession. Book decorations involve drawing small pictures of scenes from the Bible in the margins of gospel and psalm books. Byzantines favoured small craftwork involved carving religious pictures on items like boxes plaques, crosses, crowns and vestments.

Reliquary Box with scenes from the life of John the Baptist

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Early Christian art was highly influenced by religious, political, and cultural modifications. In contrast to the classical, idealistic portrayal of guy, Early Christian art took a much more elegant approach to the representation of man, with an overlooked attention to human anatomy. The subject matter of much of the art turned from nonreligious to spiritual; Christianity to be more particular. Constantine was the last emperor of the Roman Empire to hold concentrated power. Under his guideline, Constantine produced the Order of Milan, giving spiritual tolerance to all religions.

This was of specific significance to Christians, who had been previously maltreated due to their spiritual beliefs. Due to the fact that of the Edict of Milan, many Christian buildings were put up in addition to the numerous secular structures that were transformed into Christian buildings. These structures housed countless varieties of invaluable spiritual artworks. One such example is the Transfiguration of Christ mosaic situated in Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt.

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When Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium, which he relabelled Constantinople (contemporary Istanbul), the Empire separated. Upon the division of the Roman Empire, Justinian, The Last Roman Emperor, held power over the Eastern Roman Empire from 527 to 565. Justinian was both a political and religious leader. Under his reign, many Christian buildings were constructed. Justinian typically associated himself with Jesus Christ in the Byzantine artworks that these Christian structures housed as a kind of propaganda. The Orthodox Church now recognizes Justinian as a saint.

Byzantine is a term used to describe eastern Mediterranean art from 330 to 1453, when the Turks conquered Constantinople (Strickland, 1992, p.

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24). Mosaics were one of the most common forms of art during this period. They were intended to publicize the Christian creed through their religious subject matter (Strickland, 1992, p. 25). Byzantine mosaics are composed of small, colorful glass or stone squares and rectangles, called tesserae, embedded in wet cement or plaster. These tesserae were arranged in a manner through which they formed images. Typically, Byzantine mosaics are located on the walls and ceilings within a church apse and dome (Strickland, 1992, p. 25). The artists of these mosaics left the tesserae with jagged surfaces to create the sparkling, illuminated effect that distinguishes these mosaics from those of other periods and places (Strickland, 1992, p. 25).

The exteriors of Byzantine Christian structures were very plain in contrast to the elaborately decorated interiors. The awe-inspiring mosaics and icons brought the focus of the buildings to the interiors. Perhaps this was a method to spread the word of God by attracting people to come inside the buildings.

Byzantine Emperor, Justinian, ordered the construction of he Monastery of the Transfiguration, more commonly known as Saint Catherine’s Monastery because the relics of Saint Catherine of Alexandria are said to have been inexplicably transported there, at the foot of Mount Moses (Wikipedia, 2006). The monastery houses the Chapel of the Burning Bush, which was ordered built by Constantine’s mother, Helena (Wikipedia, 2006). The Chapel of the Burning Bush is located at the site where Moses purportedly saw the burning bush (Wikipedia, 2006). Saint Catherine’s Monastery is now one of the oldest active monasteries in existence.

The monastery survived Islamic dominance over the region due to a document that Mohammed supposedly signed himself, granting his protection over the monastery (Wikipedia, 2006). Saint Catherine’s Monastery allegedly gave Mohammed political asylum from his enemies (Wikipedia, 2006). In addition, a Fatimid mosque was built within the fortifications of Saint Catherine’s Monastery, thus creating further protection of the monastery from Islamic invasion (Wikipedia, 2006). Without the protection of Mohammed and the mosque, Saint Catherine’s Monastery would have been destroyed, and all of the irreplaceable artworks within its walls would have been lost.

Byzantine mosaics contain many characteristics that distinguish them from the rest. The typical gold background of a Byzantine mosaic creates a sense of weightlessness within the figures, as if they are floating. Byzantine artists depicted sacred figures with halos, separating them from the other figures. With nude images having been forbidden, one can hardly make out the anatomy of the fully clothed figures. Though it is evident that symmetry was greatly appreciated, it is also evident that the mosaics lack perspective. The figures depicted in the mosaics are flat and frontal facing with linear details. They are often slim with almond shaped faces and large eyes. The images depict little to no movement, creating a sense of stillness. These highly stylized Byzantine mosaics show disregard for Greco-Roman ideals.

On an expedition set out by the University of Michigan in search of sites to excavate in the Near East, the staff spent five days at Saint Catherine’s Monastery (Forsyth, 1997). They discovered that the mosaics within the monastery had undergone little restoration since the time of Justinian (Forsyth, 1997). As a result, most of the works were in bad condition and on the verge of collapsing (Forsyth, 1997). Mosaic restorers came in to save the mosaics, which could have been lost forever (Forsyth, 1997). After they secured the mosaics, the restorers cleaned them (Forsyth, 1997). The mosaics now appear in their original state (Forsyth, 1997). One of the most known mosaics restored was the Transfiguration of Christ (Forsyth, 1997).

The Transfiguration of Christ is located in the main church, Katholikon, in the apse over the high altar. The subject of this mosaic was an appropriate selection to portray in Saint Catherine’s Monastery because of its location at the foot of Mount Moses (Watson, 1999). In Christianity, the story claims that Jesus led three of his apostles, Peter, John, and James, to pray atop a mountain. It was here that Jesus transfigured, with his face shining like the sun and wearing bright white clothing. On both sides of Christ, Moses and Elijah appeared. Overhead, a brilliant cloud appeared, and God’s voice emerged from the cloud proclaiming, “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.” It was then that Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah about his upcoming death.

The artist of this mosaic is unknown because artists went unrecognized until much later. This mosaic is in the form of a triumphal arch, bordered by medallions occupying the busts of the twelve apostles, fifteen prophets, Longinus the Abbot, John the Deacon, two angels, and a Greek cross in the top, center (Watson, 1999). Jesus Christ is depicted in the center of the mosaic with black hair and beard. He was placed in an oval mandorla with a cross and a bright yellow circle depicting his illumination behind his head. Rays of light are shown coming from Christ’s body. In addition to the mandorla depicting Christ’s holiness, this was done to make Christ the emphasis of the mosaic as well as to distinguish him from the other figures. Elijah is shown on one side of Christ, while Moses is shown on the other. Beneath Christ, Peter, John, and James are portrayed with awe (Watson, 1999).

The Transfiguration of Christ contains all the elements of Byzantine mosaics. It has a bright gold background. The figures are dematerialized and one cannot tell which figures were intended to be floating and which are not. One can hardly make out the figures beneath the clothing and the only skin shown is on the figures’ faces, hands, and feet. All the figures were placed symmetrically around Christ, making him the focus of the mosaic. The halo and mandorla around Christ show his holiness. Only slight movement is shown through the figures’ poses. The figures are very flat, despite the attempts of the artist to show shadow and overlapping. All of the figures are slender with almond shaped heads and large eyes. One can hardly see perspective when observing this mosaic.

In conclusion, religion, politics, and culture had a significant influence on The Transfiguration of Christ, and all Early Christian art for that matter. With the Edict of Milan legalizing Christianity, the focus of art turned from secular to religious, changing the course of art forever. The Edict of Milan made it possible for Christians to practice their spiritual beliefs openly, leading to Early Christian art. Early Christian art can be credited with the spread of Christianity. One might wonder if Christianity would be as prominent as it is today had it not been for these artworks, or would it have died off a long time ago. Without Early Christian art, one might wonder when or how today’s modern day art would have evolved.

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Byzantine Art

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Outline On Byzantine Art History

The byzantine empire.

The Byzantine Empire was a primarily Christian empire whose reign started in 330 A.D and ended in 1453 A.D with the capturing of the its capital Constantinople by the Muslim Sultan Mehmed II. In the years following the fall of the Byzantines, many of the Christian basilicas were transformed into mosques for Islamic worship, inspiring many artists to create works that embodied their religious politics. One of the pieces created following the fall of the Byzantine Empire is Yusuf Fleeing Zulayhka, created in 1488 by Kamal al-Din Bihzad, a famous Persian painter who worked under the patronage of several Persian sultans. The illustration depicts Yusuf’s struggle to escape his master’s wife Zulaykha as she chases him through her elaborate palace in an attempt to seduce him. The representation was made using paint, ink and gold, and features jewel-like colors in order to portray the extravagancy of the palace Zulayhka has built specifically for the seduction of Yusuf (Stokstad 286).

The Byzantine Empire and Western Europe Essay

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Dbq the Renaissance

The medieval times was filled with ideas based just around the church. As the Renaissance began, the arts developed into a freer and move creative society based on more Greek and Roman ideas. “Finding the feudal and ecclesiastical literature and Gothic art of the

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Jewish, Early Christian, Byzantine and Islamic Art

Every religion has its own approach to art and architecture. An assessment between different traditions can offer an illuminating insight into the varying religious outlooks and theologies. Architecture, as well as art, is influenced by a number of forces in society, in the environment, in the psychology of the people who produce it, and in different institutions. It is an expression of inner feelings and beliefs and so naturally is influenced by religion in many societies. Religious architecture is created to experience the sacred, to provide a place into which spiritual energies flow and reflect a sense of the divine. Some

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This past spring, I had the opportunity to spend the semester in Athens where I was able to visit many museums. One particular visit late in the semester still stands out as particularly moving. I was following my classmates as we made our way through the Byzantine and Christian Museum when we entered one room and one by one everyone’s gaze was drawn upward until the entire class was staring open-mouthed and with craned necks at a 13th century Byzantine dome. We were all left speechless at seeing the dome above us, as if it were still a part of a church. In fact, the entire room was designed in the typical manner of mirror the layout of the church they had originally come from. That skeleton of a Byzantine church resonated with the class, and

Mosaics in Early Byzantine Era

The increase in mosaics in churches in Late Antiquity and the Byzantine Era was largely due to the influence of the Roman Emperor Constantine (ruled from 306 to 337 AD). During his rule as emperor, Christianity became the major religion and there was a push for more buildings to house the followers of Christ. Along with the new buildings there was a need to decorate these places of worship accordingly and express the religion in a grandiose sort of way. Mosaics were generally the inexpensive and impressive answer that was used to convey the church’s message. Through mosaics, the people of the church could learn and be informed of the spiritual and cultural symbolism (Kleiner and Mamiya 313).

The Byzantine Empire, sometimes known as the Eastern Roman Empire, was the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally founded as Byzantium. It survived the 5th century fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire

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Regardless of the likenesses to medieval art encircling subject matter and theme, Renaissance artists undoubtedly interrupted the stagnant standards of medieval art. As previously stated, the themes of the Middle Ages were rather consistent, but the Renaissance style was unprecedented in its

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Artists created their own unique style in Greek culture and with the creation of the Roman Empire, Greek artwork had been spread throughout the region. When the empire eventually split and faded from existence, Greek artwork had left its mark on the remaining civilizations. Because Byzantium had arisen from the ashes of the Roman Empire, Byzantine artwork incorporated aspects of Greek art within their own artwork. The purpose of this investigation is to compare and contrast art in ancient Greece and Byzantium. Recognizing the similarities and differences between two related cultures is vital in understanding the evolution of art from one culture to another. Within this investigation designs/patterns and

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was wracked by religious and political conflict. And Leo III issued a ban on religious

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Early Christian and Byzantine art started after Jesusí death in the first century ranging and ending to the fourth century AD. The art produced during this period was secretive because Christianity was not a formal religion but as a cult; the Romans and rest of Europe persecuted Christians so the artist disguised their work with symbols and hints of Christian aspects. Christianity was the first cult to not involve rituals of sacrifice of animals and refused to worship an Emperor causing the Roman Empire to make Christianity illegal. Byzantine art excelled in the Justinian period in the east during 520-540 AD. The art was produced in Ravenna, Byzantine, Venice, Sicily, Greece, and Russia. The

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Tusk Fragment with the Ascension

Tusk Fragment with the Ascension

Tusk Fragment with Christ Enthroned

Tusk Fragment with Christ Enthroned

essay on byzantine art

Hanging with Polychrome Columns

The Fieschi Morgan Staurotheke

The Fieschi Morgan Staurotheke

Yellow-Green Hexagonal Glass Bottle with a Stylite Saint

Yellow-Green Hexagonal Glass Bottle with a Stylite Saint

Ostrakon with Menander's

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Jug with Medallions


Illuminated Gospel

Processional Cross

Processional Cross

Annie Labatt Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Charlotte Appleyard Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2004

The Byzantine empire ‘s interaction with Islamic culture had a profound effect on its art. Islam’s rise and military success were the greatest threat to the stability of the empire and its territories. Mirroring the political climate, art became a medium of confrontation and cooperation between the two sides. The exchange and adaptation of motifs and genres became a common expression of power and individuality in the face of constantly changing relations between the two groups.

Islamic leaders were impressed by Byzantine mosaics and invited mosaicists to work on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Islamic artists used Christian models for iconography . Meanwhile, Byzantine artists adapted Islamic motifs for their own use. The First Church of the Monastery of Hosios Loukas, in Phokis, Greece, is decorated with patterns based on the Arab kufic script. The words do not mean anything, they are purely aesthetic, but they are clearly a nod to Islamic art. The batrashil ( 14.137 ), a silk liturgical vestment, shows an understanding of Syriac and Arabic, this time in its legible form—the artist even used Arabic to sign her name. The writing is embroidered onto the garment. A processional cross ( 1999.103 ) from Ethiopia is a fusion of wood sculpture and metalwork clearly inspired by Islamic shapes and patterns, which were most likely learned from textiles, ceramic vessels and tiles, and glass developed in the Muslim world. The illuminated gospel ( 1998.66 ) from Ethiopia also employs a design inspired by Islamic ornamentation known as harag , which means the tendril of a climbing plant.

Labatt, Annie, and Charlotte Appleyard. “Byzantine Art under Islam.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2004)

Further Reading

Cutler, Anthony. "Tiles and Tribulations: A Community of Clay across Byzantium and Its Adversaries." In A Lost Art Rediscovered: The Architectural Ceramics of Byzantium , edited by Sharon E. J. Gerstel and Julie A. Lauffenburger, pp. 159–69. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 2001.

Ettinghausen, Richard. From Byzantium to Sasanian Iran and the Islamic World: Three Modes of Artistic Influence . Leiden: Brill, 1972.

Grabar, Oleg. "Islamic Influence on Byzantine Art." In The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium , edited by Alexander P. Kazhdan. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Miles, George C. "Byzantium and the Arabs: Relations in Crete and the Aegean Area." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 18 (1964), pp. 1–32.

Nelson, Robert S. "Palaeologan Illuminated Ornament and the Arabesque." Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 41 (1988), pp. 1–22.

Redford, Scott. "Byzantium and the Islamic World, 1261–1557." In Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261–1557) , edited by Helen C. Evans, pp. 389–96. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004. See on MetPublications

Soucek, Priscilla. "Byzantium and the Islamic East." In The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843–1261 , edited by Helen C. Evans and William D. Wixom, pp. 402–34. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. See on MetPublications

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Renaissance And Byzantine Art Essay

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Show More Byzantine and the Renaissance are two major periods in the history of art. During this time different forms of art were influence by religion. During these eras, artist produce pieces of art that represented Christ, the Virgin Mary, or the Saints. These masterpieces reflected the ideas and artistic thoughts that were evolved during these time periods. This essay will compare and contrast two masterpieces (Virgin (Theotokos and Child between Saints Theodore and George and The Maestà, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo) that were created by two different artist in two different time periods Artwork 1 Early Christian, Jewish, and Byzantine (306–1453) Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George, St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, …show more content… Maesta Altarpiece (1308-11). (n.d.) Maesta is from the Italian word “in majesty” that is known as Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Saints) Maesta Altarpiece (1308-11). (n.d.) This piece is a two sided horizontal style wooden screen designed for the Siena Cathedral. This piece was painted using the Byzantine style of art. This composition of this piece follows the traditions of the Proto- Renaissance period. Maesta Altarpiece (1308-11). (n.d.). This piece shows the Virgin and Child in majesty and surrounded by saints and a host of angels. Shown above and below of the main scenes are the Life of Christ and the Virgin, along with figures of Saints. It was known that the 26 main scenes were only visible to a priest. The 26 religious scenes from the passion are listed as, Life of Christ, including: the Annunciation; Isaiah; the Nativity; Ezekiel; the Adoration of the Magi; Solomon; the Presentation in the Temple; Malachi; the Slaughter of the Innocents; Jeremiah; the Flight into Egypt; Hosea; the Disputation with the Doctors; Temptation on the Temple, the Temptation on the Mount, the Calling of Peter and Andrew, the Wedding at Cana, Christ and the Samaritan, the Healing of the Blind Man, the Transfiguration and the Resurrection of Lazarus. Maesta Altarpiece (1308-11). (n.d.). It is viewed on …show more content… 1200–1600) Duccio di Buoninsegna, Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints or The Maestà, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena, Italy When this painting is viewed, you are able to see more than 4 saints. These saints appear to be in a more comfortable place than the first piece. I see the saints admiring the Virgin and the child rather than guarding the Virgin and the child in the first piece. Even though they both seemed to be religious, this piece looks like they are at an event to meet the Virgin and Christ. The age of the child looks to be older than the first piece. In this piece everyone has a hat on except the Virgin. This piece was painted (ca. 1200-1600) which was a different time period than the first piece. Although these two masterpieces were found, most of the byzantine art work did not survive. Pieces like these were opposed by religious and imperial authorities. It was the destruction of religious icons. It was believed by Christians that these types of art were offensive and went against the second

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Analytical Essay on Art History: Byzantine Empire and Romanesque Era

Throughout history, various cultures have created numerous artworks depicting religious salvation and damnation, with the most common depictions coming from Christianity. The religion as a whole focuses a great deal on the concepts of sin as well as redemption through faith and worship. This theme has been shown in art through periods such as the Byzantine Empire as well as the Romanesque era. This theme is represented repeatedly throughout history due to the popularity Christianity has held as a major world religion. Both the Byzantine and Romanesque era view christ as a holy divinity who judges a person on whether or not they are able to enter heaven and gives judgment on those who commit sins. Christ’s significance as a judge is portrayed in both Byzantine and Romanesque art to convey a religious message that emphasizes the worship of Christ and the abstain of sin to reach paradise. Some art pieces also convey what happens to those who do not pass Christ’s judgment and are sent to hell for their sins. The Anastasis represents those who are saved from Hell’s prison through the worship of Christ while the Last Judgement shows souls that are either sent to heaven or condemned to hell through the weighing of the souls.

The Byzantine Empire began in 330 CE, shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire. Constantine, I subsequently became emperor of Byzantium after he decided to establish the capital known as Constantinople on the land itself. The capital allowed for profitable trade between the East and the West, as it sat near the border of Europe and Asia. Because of Constantinople’s location, Byzantine art was greatly influenced by its surrounding areas. For example, figures with an appearance that is less realistic looking and have bright colors were influenced by the Coptic style of Alexandria. Another is the oriental style of Antioch which influenced the use of decorative patterns and frontal portraits similar to Syrian art. Christianity was the religion of the empire and was ran by the bishop whom the emperor choose and whom the emperor could remove (Cartwright, 2019). The religion played a vital role within politics and art as bishops were very important and wealthy members of society since they represented both the church and the emperor. The empire’s choice in religion was due to Constantine’s sponsorship as well as the Roman Empire’s previous involvement in it.

However, there were many debates on how the religion should be viewed, especially in art, with the separation of church in the East and West. For example, there was a debate over whether or not Jesus Christ had more than one form. Another was over the use of Icons. This controversy occurred during a period called Iconoclasm, also known as “the destruction of images”, which took place in both 726-787 CE and 814-843 CE (Cartwright, 2019). Icons were the representation of figures such as Jesus Christ. Many Byzantines approved the idea of them, however, those in support of iconoclasm believed that it was sacrilegious for God to be presented in art and would, therefore, destroy any art that has the use of icons within them. Because of the huge role Christianity played in the empire, many art pieces were created displaying some sort of religious message. Artists created their masterpieces using paintings, mosaics, or icons, with the most popular medium being painted wooden panels that could be carried or hung on walls (Cartwright, 2019).

The Anastasis, greek for “resurrection”, is a fresco painting that was created during the late byzantine empire. It is held in the apse of the parekklesion of the church of Christ in Chora in Constantinople. It depicts Jesus Christ standing over both Satan and the keys and locks of hell’s prison while pulling Adam and Eve out from their tombs. To the left, John the Baptist, King David, and King Solomon watch from the side, and on the right martyr, saints stand there as well. The figures are shown in a spaceless and spiritual atmosphere with no volume to cast shadows. The painting was created as part of a series of paintings that show human mortality and redemption through Christ, as well as conciliation from the virgin Mary. In the piece, Christ has a mandorla illuminated around his head while he reaches out to Adam and Eve with this graceful and fluid-like appearance. All the figures have a smooth and light appearance with slight changes in coloration. The clothes of the figures are precise as the clothes drape over the figures in a naturalistic way rather than through hard abstract lines.

essay on byzantine art

The piece is inspired by a scripture from the Gospel of Nicodemus, where John the Baptist tells the other prophets and patriarchs that Christ is coming to the underworld to rescue them if they are ready to worship him. The prophets and patriarchs agree that they are ready to, and when Christ arrives he defeats Satan and takes them to heaven (Stracke, 2017). The piece demonstrates the theme of salvation or deliverance from sin and its consequences. Christ saves Adam and Eve, the ones who established original sin when they went against God’s word by eating the forbidden fruit they were told not to consume. Through their worship of Christ, they are saved from their sins and taken to heaven.

The painting demonstrates the Byzantines’ use of art to convey religious messages of salvation and redemption, as well as strengthen people’s faith. The piece also uses the icon of Jesus Christ and shows the viewer his divinity through the depiction of a halo around his head. This is common for icon artists of the time, as it was a way to emphasize their figure’s holiness (Cartwright, 2019). This piece, as well as many other Christian art pieces, was created because of the significance the religion had on society as a whole. Since it was the religion of the empire, and the bishop was chosen by the emperor, many churches and religious art pieces were a result of the emperor’s sponsorship as well as the wealth of the church. The Anastasis holds a message of salvation similar to the Last Judgement, however, the Last Judgement also illustrates those who are deemed unworthy to enter heaven and are condemned to hell. While the Anastasis serves as a reminder of what happens to those who follow Christ, the Last Judgement serves as a warning to those who don’t.

The Romanesque period took place during the late middle ages, between 1050 and 1200 CE. The name ‘Romanesque’ was taken from the era’s artistic style, which uses aspects similar to those found in ancient Roman art and architecture. They also took inspiration from previous empires such as the Byzantine empire. The spread of the art style was mainly due to the growth of monasticism. Monasticism is defined as ‘an institutionalized religious practice or movement whose members attempt to live by a rule that requires works that go beyond those of either the laity or the ordinary spiritual leaders of their religions. This means people became monks, priests, or nuns in order to renounce worldly pleasures and devote themselves to religious work. Additionally, many clerical buildings were constructed or remodeled as there was an increase in independent cities. Pilgrimages to monasteries containing relics continued to grow, allowing for them to gain funding for future monasteries.

From this era, relief sculptures were used to tell biblical stories as well as display church doctrine.

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An Analysis of Selected World Cultures Before the Advent of Islam and the Major Impact of Islam of These Cultures Introduction This paper presents an overview of the political, religious, and moral state of the Arabian Peninsula, the Roman/Byzantine and Persian empires, and surrounding polities/cultural groups extant at the emergence of Islam. An analysis focusing on the period from the beginning of Prophethood and, thereafter, under the four righteous caliphates of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali with a mention...

Humans tend to be inherently violent in nature, competing for their needs in the society. Human history is filled with conflict. Some of that conflict takes place on a small level involving only a few people, sometimes the battle takes place within a single person’s mind. But other conflicts span regions and can stretch on for decades. Ancient battles were not advanced and only depended of home crafted weapons like the spear, bow and arrow, falx and javelin, swords, spears,...

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AP®︎/College Art History

Unit 5: lesson 1.

A beginner's guide to Byzantine Art

Early Byzantine (c. 330–750)

Middle byzantine (c. 843–1204), late byzantine (c. 1261–1453), want to join the conversation.


  1. Pin on Иконы

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  3. Byzantine Review and Essay Practice

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  4. Essay about byzantine mosaics

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  5. Essay about byzantine mosaics

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  6. Christianity in the Byzantine Empire

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  1. Byzantine Art Part 2 Pro

  2. ARTS Quarter 1 Module 2 3 Byzantine and Romanesque and Gothic Periods

  3. Byzantine literature

  4. Art 200: The Byzantine Period

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  1. What Are Some Characteristics of Byzantine Art?

    Byzantine art is almost entirely concerned with religious expression. Specifically, Byzantine artists want to translate church theology into artistic terms. The purpose of Byzantine art was to glorify the Christian religion and express its ...

  2. What Is High Art?

    High art is a concept used by societies to describe art that is created by a culturally renowned artist and is not accessible to lower classes. Classifying art is subjective, so what one group considers high art may be considered low art by...

  3. Why Is Art Important to People?

    Art is important to people because it offers them a chance to deal most directly with the human condition, it educates students for future leadership and it builds empathy. Art is a member of the humanities disciplines, which includes histo...

  4. Free Byzantine Art Essays and Papers

    Free Essays from 123 Help Me | Early Christian and Byzantine Art Early Christian and Byzantine art started after Jesusí death in the first century ranging.

  5. History of Byzantine Art

    A persistent characteristic of Byzantine art and architecture of all periods was the mosaics and frescoes that featured in the interiors of all

  6. Byzantine Art Free Essay Example

    Early Christian art was highly influenced by religious, political, and cultural modifications. In contrast to the classical, idealistic portrayal of guy

  7. Byzantine Art : The Art Of The Roman Empire

    Free Essay: Byzantine art is the art of the Eastern Roman Empire. Constantine is the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire. The art style in the...

  8. Outline On Byzantine Art History

    Carr, K.E. "Medieval Art." Medieval Art History - N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2017. Chapuis, Julien. "Romanesque Art | Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art

  9. Byzantium (ca. 330–1453)

    The emperor renamed this ancient port city Constantinople (“the city of Constantine”) in his own honor.

  10. Byzantine Art under Islam

    Islamic leaders were impressed by Byzantine mosaics and invited mosaicists to work on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Islamic artists used Christian models

  11. Essay On Byzantine Art

    How Did Art Reflect the Byzantine Era? ... Roman and Greek culture was prevalent in the Byzantine Empire, making this period

  12. Renaissance And Byzantine Art Essay

    Free Essay: Byzantine and the Renaissance are two major periods in the history of art. During this time different forms of art were influence by religion.

  13. Analytical Essay on Art History

    Throughout history, various cultures have created numerous artworks depicting religious salvation and damnation, with the… For full essay go to Edubirdie.

  14. Beginner's guide to Byzantine art & mosaics (article)

    To speak of “Byzantine Art” is a bit problematic, since the Byzantine empire and its art spanned more than a millennium and penetrated geographic regions