Early Christian &
Byzantine Art
Art Appreciation – ART1204
Professor Will Adams
The Shift From ‘Realism’ to ‘Religion’
After the Fall of the Western (Roman Empire), the style of art changed
dramatically...
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
330 - Constantine moved his capital to Byzantium and renamed it
CONSTANTINOPLE. Most piec...
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
EARLY CHRISTIAN
Stories and references
to Christ
ROMAN SARCOPHAGUS
Figures are references...
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
Jewish synagogues contained
almost no representational
sculpture because Jewish law
forba...
Early Christian
Throughout Art History, The Life of Jesus Christ is
broken down into three major categories:
INCARNATION
M...
Early Christian
The term ‘Early Christian’ refers to the
preserved works of the first five
centuries CE.
For the first THR...
Early Christian
Roman Christians sometimes
decorated their catacomb
walls with frescoes depicting
the life and teachings o...
Early Christian
Christ’s physical form is
based on Greco-Roman
models. He is youthful,
clean shaven and
clothed in a modes...
Early Christian
Like their pagan
contemporaries, wealthy
Christians preferred to be
buried in marble
sarcophagi.
The richl...
Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, c 359. EARLY CHRISTIAN
Two registers, 10 panels of OLD and NEW Testament scenes…
Christ is d...
Sarcophagus with philosopher, Rome, Italy, ca 270. EARLY CHRISTIAN
Jesus is represented by two figures on the right,
the s...
Ivory Carving
Suicide of Judas and Crucifixion of Christ,
plaque from a casket, ivory, ca 420
The narrative on the box beg...
Early Christian
Old St. Peter’s in Rome, completed by Constantine I around 324 AD.
EARLY CHRISTIAN
Early Christian
Narthex
Side Aisles
Clerestory
Nave
Apse
Triforium
BASILICA-PLAN CHURCH (West)
Early Christian
Santa Costanza, Rome, 350 AD.
CENTRAL PLAN CHURCH
Early Christian
CENTRAL-PLAN CHURCH (East)
See Hagia Sophia
Narthex
Side Aisles
Naos
Apse
Exedrae
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
Santa Sabina, Rome, c422-432 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
Santa Sabina, Rome, c422-432 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c425-26 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c425-26 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c425-26 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
Late Antiquity / Early Christian
Map showing collapse of Western Empire and Justinian’s reign
Byzantine Art
When Emperor Justinian decide to
build a church in Constantinople (the
greatest city in the world for 400
ye...
Hagia Sophia, 532-537, Istanbul, Turkey. BYZANTINE
Byzantine Art
Byzantine Art
Large, decorated
pendentives inside the
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, 532-537
Istanbul, Turkey. BYZANTINE
Byzantine Art
Byzantine Art
Byzantine Basics: Three F’s and a G
FLAT:
FLOATING:
FRONTAL:
GOLD
BACKGROUNDS:
	

	

Although the artist inc...
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia,
Ravenna, c425-26 AD
EARLY CHRISTIAN
Emperor Justinian and his
Attendants,
Church of San Vital...
Early Christian
San Vitale
Commissioned by Bishop
Ecclesius when Italy was still
under Ostrogothic rule, but only
complete...
Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547. BYZANTINE
Byzantine Art
Close-Up of Apse of Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547. BYZANTINE
Byzantine Art
Emperor Justinian and his Attendants, Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547.
Byzantine Art
Empress Theodora and her Attendants, Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547.
Byzantine Art
Byzantine Art
The Barberini Ivory illustrates how
early Byzantine art borrowed from
symbols of Classical art.
The figure, ...
Icons were items used as vehicles for prayer
to God.
Among some of the finest were images of
Virgin Mary, known as Theotok...
Byzantine Art
About one hundred years
after the Iconoclasm,
worshippers began to make
diptychs and triptychs to be
used fo...
THE END
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Art1204 early christian & byzantine art

  1. 1. Early Christian & Byzantine Art Art Appreciation – ART1204 Professor Will Adams
  2. 2. The Shift From ‘Realism’ to ‘Religion’ After the Fall of the Western (Roman Empire), the style of art changed dramatically. Creating ideals and proportions took a backseat to teaching the narratives and symbolism of Christianity. The Parts of the Christian Churches Central Plan vs. Basilica Plan Originally, there were two basic types of Christian Church plans. Knowing these plans (and why they were designed as such) should aid you in learning how the needs of Christianity affected these layouts. Late Antiquity / Early Christian
  3. 3. Late Antiquity / Early Christian 330 - Constantine moved his capital to Byzantium and renamed it CONSTANTINOPLE. Most pieces of Jewish Art were destroyed, and the Jewish people often faced special taxes, restrictions and even persecution. 395 - The Roman Empire split permanently by Emperor Theodosius I into two parts: The WESTERN EMPIRE (Roman) The EASTERN EMPIRE (Byzantine) 410 - Rome is sacked by the Visigoths. 476 - Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman emperor, is deposed by the German Odoacer. 527 - Justinian becomes Eastern Roman emperor. Constantinople covers eight square miles (Manhattan covers twenty-two square miles) with at least 500,000 inhabitants. 532--37 - Justinian builds the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. 726 - Byzantine Emperor Leo III orders all icons in the Byzantine Empire destroyed. QuickTimeline
  4. 4. Late Antiquity / Early Christian EARLY CHRISTIAN Stories and references to Christ ROMAN SARCOPHAGUS Figures are references to Mythology or Government
  5. 5. Late Antiquity / Early Christian
  6. 6. Late Antiquity / Early Christian Jewish synagogues contained almost no representational sculpture because Jewish law forbade praying to images or idols. Decorative paintings and mosaics were displayed on walls to denote religious concepts. Synagogue Floor, from Maon, Jerusalem. c 530.
  7. 7. Early Christian Throughout Art History, The Life of Jesus Christ is broken down into three major categories: INCARNATION MINISTRY PASSION The events surrounding Christ’s conception, birth, infancy and childhood. Keys events include the calling of the twelve apostles, performing miracles and giving sermons. The events which include Christ’s arrest, trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.
  8. 8. Early Christian The term ‘Early Christian’ refers to the preserved works of the first five centuries CE. For the first THREE centuries after Christ’s death, Roman authorities banned Christianity and often persecuted Christians. During this period, Christians concealed their religious practices by digging tunnels outside of Rome. Known as catacombs, these tunnels were underground passageways where early Christians could worship and bury their dead. The catacombs extended up to 90 miles and as deep as five levels.
  9. 9. Early Christian Roman Christians sometimes decorated their catacomb walls with frescoes depicting the life and teachings of Jesus. The Catacomb of Priscilla contains a particularly revealing fresco that may date to the 4th century. Here, Christ is depicted as a Good Shepherd, which refers to a passage from the Gospel of John in which Christ said, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” The Good Shepherd Fresco, Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, c 320-340 CE. EARLY CHRISTIAN
  10. 10. Early Christian Christ’s physical form is based on Greco-Roman models. He is youthful, clean shaven and clothed in a modest classical tunic. Christ even stands in a classical contrapposto pose and physically resembles a young Apollo. The Good Shepherd Fresco, Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, c 320-340 CE. EARLY CHRISTIAN
  11. 11. Early Christian Like their pagan contemporaries, wealthy Christians preferred to be buried in marble sarcophagi. The richly carved Sarcophagus of Junius Bassius was made for an important Roman official who converted to Christianity before his death in 359. This tends to be an important piece as it combines Christian themes with Classical architectural and figural elements. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, c 359. EARLY CHRISTIAN
  12. 12. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, c 359. EARLY CHRISTIAN Two registers, 10 panels of OLD and NEW Testament scenes… Christ is depicted in center with Roman themes.
  13. 13. Sarcophagus with philosopher, Rome, Italy, ca 270. EARLY CHRISTIAN Jesus is represented by two figures on the right, the small child being baptized and the Shepherd to his left. The future ministry of Jesus is represented by the turned head of the young boy to the Shepherd and by the placement of his hand on one of the sheep. This is Jesus as a child receiving a baptism in the River Jordan even though he was baptized at age thirty. Baptism was significant in the early centuries of Christianity because so many adults were converted to the new faith in this manner. Early Christian
  14. 14. Ivory Carving Suicide of Judas and Crucifixion of Christ, plaque from a casket, ivory, ca 420 The narrative on the box begins with Pilate washing his hands, Jesus carrying the cross on the road to Calvary, and the denial of Peter, all compressed into a single panel. The plaque that is illustrated here is the next in the sequence and shows, at the left, Judas hanging from a tree with his open bag of silver dumped on the ground beneath his feet. the Crucifixion is at the right. The Virgin Mary and Joseph are to the left of the cross. On the other side Longinus thrusts his spear into the side of the "King of the Jews." The two remaining panels show two Marys and two soldiers at the open doors of a tomb with an empty coffin and the doubting Thomas touching the wound of the risen Christ. The figure of Christ does not appear to be in pain because he is displayed on the cross, rather than hung from it, as though he has conquered death and does not suffer. The contrast of Jesus whose body remains strong on the cross contrasts with the body of his betrayer, Judas, hanging from a tree with a limp body and a snapped neck. Visually and symbolically, this image was meant to show Jesus as a strong leader and not prone to pain or complete death. Early Christian
  15. 15. Early Christian Old St. Peter’s in Rome, completed by Constantine I around 324 AD. EARLY CHRISTIAN
  16. 16. Early Christian Narthex Side Aisles Clerestory Nave Apse Triforium BASILICA-PLAN CHURCH (West)
  17. 17. Early Christian Santa Costanza, Rome, 350 AD. CENTRAL PLAN CHURCH
  18. 18. Early Christian CENTRAL-PLAN CHURCH (East) See Hagia Sophia Narthex Side Aisles Naos Apse Exedrae
  19. 19. Late Antiquity / Early Christian Santa Sabina, Rome, c422-432 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
  20. 20. Late Antiquity / Early Christian Santa Sabina, Rome, c422-432 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
  21. 21. Late Antiquity / Early Christian Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c425-26 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
  22. 22. Late Antiquity / Early Christian Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c425-26 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
  23. 23. Late Antiquity / Early Christian Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c425-26 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN
  24. 24. Late Antiquity / Early Christian Map showing collapse of Western Empire and Justinian’s reign
  25. 25. Byzantine Art When Emperor Justinian decide to build a church in Constantinople (the greatest city in the world for 400 years), he wanted to make it as grand as his empire. He assigned the task to two mathematicians, Anthemius and Isidorus. They created the Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”) Nearly 3 football fields long, and the dome is 180’ in diameter! This architectural feat was accomplished with the use of pendentives. Hagia Sophia, 532-537. Istanbul, Turkey. BYZANTINE
  26. 26. Hagia Sophia, 532-537, Istanbul, Turkey. BYZANTINE Byzantine Art
  27. 27. Byzantine Art
  28. 28. Large, decorated pendentives inside the Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia, 532-537 Istanbul, Turkey. BYZANTINE Byzantine Art
  29. 29. Byzantine Art Byzantine Basics: Three F’s and a G FLAT: FLOATING: FRONTAL: GOLD BACKGROUNDS: Although the artist includes some shading, figures appear flat, lacking volume that was common with Classical Art. Figures appear to hover over the ground. Note the pointed 45- degree angle of the feet. Unlike the realistic overlapping seen in most Classical art, Byzantine figures are usually turned toward the viewer. Byzantine Art shows very little interest in a background. Byzantine art focuses more on conveying Christian teachings and depicting important figures than on representing the natural world.
  30. 30. Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c425-26 AD EARLY CHRISTIAN Emperor Justinian and his Attendants, Church of San Vitale, c547. BYZANTINE
  31. 31. Early Christian San Vitale Commissioned by Bishop Ecclesius when Italy was still under Ostrogothic rule, but only completed after Justinian’s conquest of Ravenna. Octagonal-shaped building with exedrae that extend out from the building. Most notable is the interior… Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547.
  32. 32. Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547. BYZANTINE Byzantine Art
  33. 33. Close-Up of Apse of Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547. BYZANTINE Byzantine Art
  34. 34. Emperor Justinian and his Attendants, Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547. Byzantine Art
  35. 35. Empress Theodora and her Attendants, Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, c547. Byzantine Art
  36. 36. Byzantine Art The Barberini Ivory illustrates how early Byzantine art borrowed from symbols of Classical art. The figure, identified as Justinian, rides victoriously similar to the Marcus Aurelius Equestrian statue, with conquered enemies making offerings in the bottom panel. Although the figures are not proportional as they would be in Classical art, the piece connects the conquests of Justinian with the peace of Christ. Barberini Ivory, c. 550 CE. BYZANTINE
  37. 37. Icons were items used as vehicles for prayer to God. Among some of the finest were images of Virgin Mary, known as Theotokos (bearer of God). She was also known as the Seat of Wisdom, often holding a baby Jesus in her lap. During the iconoclasm of the 8th century, most icons like this were destroyed, but a few like this in Mount Sinai, Egypt, survived. This picture is painted with encaustic, which is a pigment with melted wax. Virgin and Child Between the Saints Icon, c. 575 CE. BYZANTINE Byzantine Art
  38. 38. Byzantine Art About one hundred years after the Iconoclasm, worshippers began to make diptychs and triptychs to be used for private devotion and prayers. Hinges allowed them to be folded for transport. The Harbaville Triptych is a good example of such a piece. Made of ivory, It contains an enthroned Christ flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist. Harbaville Triptych, c. 950 CE. BYZANTINE
  39. 39. THE END

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