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Byzantine Art

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Byzantine Art

  1. 1. Byzantine Art!!<br />
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  3. 3. Early Byzantine Age 527 – 726 (Justinian 527 - 565)<br />Iconoclasm 730 – 787 and 814 - 842<br />Middle –843 – 1204 (restoration of icons)<br />Break from the Western Church – 1054<br />Constantinople Falls to Venetian Invaders in the 4th Crusade - 1203<br />Late Period 1261 – 1453<br />The fall of Constantinople to Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire - 1453<br />
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  6. 6. Justinian<br /> reigned 527 - 565<br />In the late Fifth and early Sixth Centuries, the Western half of The Roman Empire fell into a shambles. Even Italy was under the control of feuding barbarians.TheEmporer Justinian rallied his forces and Recoverred Ravenna. For a short time Ravenna became the Byzantine capital in the West and a number of important early Byzantine monuments are preserved there today. The church of San Vitale in Ravenna is one of these monuments. SanVitale&apos;s humble exterior protects a glistening interior full of glass mosaics and sumptuous decorative marble.<br />
  7. 7. Emperor Justinian and Attendants, Saint Vitale, Ravenna, c.547<br />
  8. 8. Built during the city’s rebuilding after riots of 532<br />“Purple makes a fine shroud” – attributed to Theodora<br />
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  11. 11. Pendentive vs. Squinch<br />
  12. 12. Hagia Sophia – Holy Wisdom<br />Designed by 2 scholar-theoreticians:<br />Anthemius of Tralles (geometry and optics) & Isisorus of Miletus (physics)<br />Rumored to have been constructed by angels in 5 years (532 – 537)<br />Massiveness of piers and walls disguised by mosaics<br />Dome has a band of 40 windows around the top making it appear to float (first one fell in 558)<br />
  13. 13. Early Byzantine Art in the Age of Justinian<br />Hagia Sophia, Istanbul<br />Combination of central plan and axial plan<br />Exterior: plain and massive, little decoration<br />Altar at far end, but emphasis placed over the area covered by the dome<br />Dome supported by pendentives<br />Powerful central dome, with forty windows at base<br />Cornice unifies space<br />Arcade decoration: wall and capitals are flat and thin but richly ornamented<br />Great fields for mosaic decoration<br />At one time had four acres of gold mosaics on walls<br /><ul><li>Many windows punctuate wall space
  14. 14. Minarets added in Islamic period</li></li></ul><li>
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  16. 16. Apse mosaic (detail) hagia sophia, 867<br />
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  19. 19. Emperor Justinian and Attendants, Saint Vitale, Ravenna, c.547<br />
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  22. 22. Justinian and Attendants<br /><ul><li>To his left the clergy, to his right the military
  23. 23. Dressed in royal purple and gold
  24. 24. Symmetry, frontality
  25. 25. Holds a plate for the host, or perhaps a golden bowl
  26. 26. Slight impression of procession forward
  27. 27. No volume of figures, seem to float, and yet step on each other’s feet
  28. 28. No background to set the figures in space
  29. 29. No landscape, gold background indicates timelessness
  30. 30. Maximianus identified, patron of San Vitale
  31. 31. Halo indicates saintliness</li></ul>Pictorial space not depicted as a window to the natural world (i.e. Romans)<br />
  32. 32. Theodora and Attendants, Saint Vitale, Ravenna, c.547<br />
  33. 33. Theodora and Attendants<br /><ul><li>Hieratic composition
  34. 34. Slight displacement of absolute symmetry with Theodora
  35. 35. Sumptuously executed
  36. 36. She holds a chalice for the ceremony and is about to go behind the curtain
  37. 37. Altar boys and ladies at court accompany her</li></li></ul><li>Mosaics<br /><ul><li>More abstract than Roman Paintings
  38. 38. Used as narrative illustrations to instruct the faithful
  39. 39. Bright colors, small bits of stone, glass tesserae</li></li></ul><li>S. Vitale, c. 525 -547<br />Commisioned by Bishop Ecclesius<br />
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  42. 42. Column Capitals, San Vitale<br />
  43. 43. Column Capitals, Hagia Sophia<br />
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  45. 45. Santa Costanza, Rome<br />Ambulatory<br />
  46. 46. Early Byzantine Artin the Age of Justinian<br />San Vitale, Ravenna (c. 547)<br />Byzantine forces capture Ravenna in 540<br />8 sided structure<br />Plain exterior except porch added later in Renaissance<br />Large windows for illuminating interior designs<br />Interior has thin columns and open arched spaces, complex spatial system<br />Sense of mystery in the space<br />
  47. 47. Transfiguration of Christ with Sant’Apollinare, 1st Bishop of Ravenna (549)<br /><ul><li>Revelation of Christ’s divinity
  48. 48. 12 sheep surround Christ
  49. 49. Expressing essential spiritual meaning rather than the material world</li></li></ul><li>Moses and Elijah<br />Apostles Peter, James and John<br />Bishop Appolinaris<br />
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  51. 51. Byzantine Icons<br />How Icons Are Made<br />Made of rectangular wooden panels<br />Painters were monks and worked with humility, rarely signing anything<br />Wood prepared by covering the surface with fish glue and then a layer of putty<br />Cloth placed on top and successive layers of stucco are laid over the cloth<br />Paper sketch is placed over and lines are traced on the surface<br />Gilded, then painted<br />Varnish applied last to make it shine and protect the surface<br />Icons were often handled and kissed<br />
  52. 52. Byzantine Icons<br />Iconoclastic Controversy: icons prohibited as sacrilegious and pagan between 726-843<br />Pronounced by Leo III and caused widespread destruction, destroying most icons<br /><ul><li>Thought to have miraculous powers
  53. 53. Jesus sent a portait to King Abgar of Edessa, known as the Mandylion. In Constantinople and taken by Crusaders in 10th century
  54. 54. Church at first was uneasy about the power of images, but accepted as aids to meditation and prayer
  55. 55. Created a need for more immediate and personal religion</li></li></ul><li>Monastery of St. Catherine, Mount Sinai, built by Justinian, ca. 550<br />
  56. 56. Virgin of Vladimir<br />c. 11th or 12thcentury<br />“Virgin of Compassion”<br />The spread from Constantinople to Kiev <br />
  57. 57. Byzantine Icons<br />Virgin and Child Enthroned between Saints Theodore and George (c. 600)<br /><ul><li>Theodore and George, two military saints, have rigid frontal poses, as befits the military
  58. 58. Archangels painted with free open brushwork
  59. 59. Devoid of depth
  60. 60. Virgin relatively solid and three-dimensional, her knees to the right
  61. 61. Virgin’s head frontal, but eyes averted
  62. 62. Christ convincingly rendered as a child
  63. 63. Perhaps executed by three different artists in different styles</li></li></ul><li>Annunciation (c. 1300)<br /><ul><li>Classical looking angel with heavy modeling
  64. 64. Strong line surfaces
  65. 65. Mary sits enthroned
  66. 66. Realistic setting contrasts with golden background
  67. 67. Small squashed figures hold up canopy </li></li></ul><li>Rüblev, Old Testament Trinity<br />(Three Angels Visiting Abraham)<br />c. 1410 - 25<br /><ul><li>Byzantine affinity for repeating forms from older art
  68. 68. Forms of angels are traditional
  69. 69. Heads of angels nearly identical
  70. 70. Poses are mirror images
  71. 71. Luminous appeal of colors
  72. 72. Deep color harmonies of draperies
  73. 73. Extensive use of gold
  74. 74. Nearly spaceless background</li>

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