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Byzantine Art PowerPoint


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Byzantine Art PowerPoint

  1. 1. Byzantine Art 500 – 1453 CE
  3. 3. A little historical background: •“Byzantine” people called themselves Romans •Byzantine empire born from a split in the Roman world (5th century) •Size of Roman empire was just too huge for one person to rule •Western half of Roman Empire: barbarian chaos, overtaken •Eastern half of Roman Empire: flourished for 1000 years after Western half collapsed. (it’s modern-day Istanbul, was Constantinople)- originally founded by Emperor Constantine •Byzantines spoke Greek rather than Latin •Promoted orthodox Christianity, as opposed to western Christianity, which was centered in Rome
  4. 4. •Constantinople was the envy of every culture- trading center of Europe, controlled shipment of goods nearly everywhere •Influence of Byzantine art spread everywhere missionaries or merchants went •Precious objects carried across Mediterranean •Thought western objects were barbaric •ICONS were a specialty: images that act as reminders to the faithful- not intended to be the sacred persons themselves •Got carried away with icons- some worshiped them as idols- Uh oh!
  5. 5. •Emperor banned all image production (no idols!) = stopped art •ICONOCLASTS smashed previously created works (inspired by Judaism and Islam, which discouraged sacred images for same reason) •Bad news – art from early Byzantine period is almost completely lost •Iconoclastic Controversy = division between Early and Middle Byzantine periods •In 843, Iconoclasm was repealed, images reinstated (yay, art!) •Every church and monastery had to be redecorated = burst of creative energy throughout Byzantium
  6. 6. •Medieval crusaders conquered Constantinople in 1204 = transition between Middle and Late Byzantine periods •Invaders got kicked out, but they carried of artwork and weakened the empire (left it weak- Ottoman conquest in 1453) •Despite all this, Late Byzantine artists were busy working inside and outside the empire, especially in Russia •Byzantine art flourished in Russia until 1917 (Russian Revolution ended most religious activity) •Byzantine artists imported into Sicily and Venice, still popular
  7. 7. BYZANTINE VOCABULARY: •CATHEDRAL: principal church of a diocese, where a bishop is •CODEX: a manuscript book •ICON: a devotional panel depicting a sacred image •ICONOSTASIS: a screen decorated with icons, which separates the apse from the transept of a church •MOSAIC: decoration using pieces of stone, marble, or colored glass, called “tesserae”, that are cemented to a wall or floor •PANTOCRATOR: literally “ruler of the world”- a term that alludes to a figure of Christ placed above the altar or in the center of a dome in a Byzantine church
  8. 8. Vocabulary continued… •PENDENTIVE: a construction shaped like a triangle that transitions the space between flat walls and the base of a round dome •PSALTER: a book of the Psalms or sacred sung poems from the Bible •SQUINCH: the polygonal base of a dome that makes a transition from the round dome to a flat wall (also a really fun word to say!) •TRIPTYCH: a three-paneled painting or sculpture
  9. 9. Key ideas about BYZANTINE ART: •Byzantine empire born out of remains of Roman Empire- continued Roman artistic tradition but with Christian themes •Mosaics, icons, manuscript illumination are a big deal •Two main elements: reflect the classical past and use hieratic medieval style (representations are fixed by religious tradition) •Architects invent PENDENTIVE and SQUINCH •Buildings known for mysterious and shadowy interiors
  10. 10. PATRONAGE: •Church + State = one thing (Byzantine empire) – commissioned art •Religious works crowd buildings •Interest in luxury objects – extravagant works in ivory, manuscripts, and precious metals •Artists feel like they create art for the glory of God – rarely sign their names (pride = sin!) •Many artists were priests, nuns, or priests – artistic production was an expression of their religious devotion
  12. 12. • With the exception of the Hagia Sophia (which you’ll see in a minute), Byzantine architecture isn’t known for its size • Early Byzantine (500-726 CE) – plain exteriors of brick or concrete • Middle to Late Byzantine (843-1453) – richly decorated with various colors of brick, stone, and marble, contrasting vertical and horizontal elements. Domes are smaller, but there are more of them • Interiors: colored marble, shimmering mosaics, frescoes, low domes with windows around the base
  13. 13. How to put a round dome on flat walls: use a PENDENTIVE! -triangle-shaped piece of masonry with the dome resting on one long side, and the other two sides channeling the weight down to the pier below. PENDENTIVE allows dome to be supported by four piers, one in each corner of the building. Walls between piers don’t support the dome – can be opened up for more window space!!!
  14. 14. Middle and late Byzantine architects introduce a variation on a pendentive called a SQUINCH! Pendentive vs. Squinch
  15. 15. Squinches in the Hosios Loukas (more about that later…)
  16. 16. • SQUINCH has same function as PENDENTIVE (transition weight of a dome onto a flat wall • Architects designed pendentives and squinches so that artists could later use these broad surfaces as painted spaces
  17. 17. HAGIA SOPHIA (“holy wisdom”) designed by Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus 532-537, Istanbul Built in 5 years!
  18. 18. Let’s join Rick Steves for a look inside….
  19. 19. •Plan includes a unique combination of elementscentrally planned and axially planned •Dome rests on 4 arches that carry weight up to the piers using PENDENTIVES •This allows for taller, lighter and more economical domes •The plan also recalls basilica of Constantine, uniting east and west
  20. 20. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul Basilica of Constantine, Ancient Rome
  21. 21. Minarets added in Islamic period when Hagia Sophia functioned as a mosque • Exterior is plain and massive, little decoration • Patrons were Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora, who commissioned the work after the original building burned down
  22. 22. Interior, Hagia Sophia •How would you describe this interior space?
  23. 23. •All sense of weight disappears in the interior •Expanding, inflated space •Light plays a key role •Glitter of light and mosaics create an illusion of unreality Interior, Hagia Sophia
  24. 24. • Arcade decoration: wall and capitals are flat and thin but richly ornamented • Lots of space for mosaic decoration: at one time had FOUR acres of gold mosaics on walls • Walls were whitewashed with plaster, cleaning walls today to reveal decorations
  25. 25. Many windows in wall space, fill structure with light • Altar at end of nave, not directly under dome • Large central dome with 40 windows at base – like a halo over the congregation when filled with light, dome “floats”
  26. 26. Oooooooo!
  27. 27. • • • • • • To form a long nave for processions, half domes expand outward towards the narthex and apse Side aisles flank a central core called a NAOS GALLERIES (stories overlooking and open to the naos) are above the side aisles Mass took place behind a crimson curtain embroidered in gold, men stood in aisles, women in galleries Upward focus reflects interest of Byzantine philosophersviewed meditation as a way to rise from material world to spiritual state Worshipers felt spiritual uplift as they gazed upward at mosaics of saints, angels, and heaven in the central dome
  28. 28. Capital, Hagia Sophia Motifs of scrolls and foliage, derived from classical architecture, but effect is radically different- no longer look as if they cushion the impact of the weight of the column- now is delicate and pattern defies the weight of the stone.
  29. 29. Column Capitals, Hagia Sophia
  30. 30. PANTHEON in Rome
  31. 31. San Vitale 526-547 CE Ravenna, Italy • Eight-sided church • Plain exterior except for the porch, which was added later in the Renaissance • Large windows let in light • Octagonal plan, central dome like Sta. Constanza in Rome, but S. Vitale is much larger and richer in spatial effects • Commissioned by Ecclesius, bishop of Ravenna
  32. 32. Plan of San Vitale • Central-domed octagon extended by semicircular bays, all surrounded by ambulatory and gallery, all covered by vaults. It’s got it all! • Rectangular sanctuary and semicircular apse project from one side • Circular rooms flank apse (typical Byzantine)
  33. 33. S. Vitale, c. 525 -547
  34. 34. • Round dome is hidden on the exterior by an octagonal shell and tile-covered roof • Structure strengthened by interlocking ceramic tubes mortared together The interior is light and airy. Let’s go inside!
  35. 35. Squinches support dome • Interior of San Vitale has thin columns and open arched spaces • Seems light and airy compared to heavy-looking exterior
  36. 36. Column Capitals, San Vitale
  37. 37. • In the half-dome of the sanctuary apse, we see a mosaic of Christ enthroned – flanked by St. Vitalis and Bishop Ecclesius, who presents a model of the church to Christ
  38. 38. The interior elements look tall and slender like the figures in the mosaics and paintings We will take a closer look at these later…
  39. 39. Monastery Churches, 10th-11th centuries, Hosios Loukas, Greece
  40. 40. • Greece was in the Byzantine empire in 10th and 11th centuries • Architecture and art in Greece at that time had Middle Byzantine style • Compact central plan with tile-covered dome (supported by squinches) rising over octagonal core. • From the outside, the vaults of the interior are not obvious • Brick and stone – intricate masonry pattern, decorative brick (vertical and horizontal arrangements)
  41. 41. •Large windows made up of small holes – sense of mystery •Light interior •Sparkling mosaics and frescoes •Delicate arches •Small dome with windows at drum- supported by squinches
  42. 42. Saint Mark’s Cathedral, 1063, Venice, Italy
  43. 43. Five domes in a “Greek cross” pattern •Venice was under Byzantine rule in 6th and 7th centuries •At end of 10th century, Venice trade explodes- became very wealthy – increased exposure to Eastern cultures influences art and architecture Commissioned by the doge (“duke”) Contains relics of St. Mark the evangelist Smo Cam
  44. 44. •Windows at bases of domes illuminate mosaics that cover every wall space above the first floor •Figures float in gold! •Prominent iconostasis separates apse from nave (a wall of icons and/or religious paintings, separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church)
  45. 45. •Domes separated by barrel vaults and supported by pendentives •Space doesn’t “flow” like Hagia Sophia – more complex space with separate areas •Marble veneer covers lower walls •Central dome shows Pentecost scene (when the Holy Spirit fell upon the apostles)
  46. 46. Procession at St. Mark's Square 1496 by 15th century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini (more about this when we reach chapter 19!)
  47. 47. Saint Basil’s Cathedral By S Barma and Postnik 1555-1561 Moscow, Russia Late Byzantine style extended outside the empire in regions that had Eastern Orthodox Christians Constantinople fell to Ottoman Turks in 1453 Leadership of Orthodox Church shifted to Russia Moscow = “Third Rome”
  48. 48. • Commissioned by Ivan the Terrible (first ruler to be crowned as Tsar of All the Russias. • Tall, slender pyramid-like central tower crowned by small, onion-shaped dome • Central spire surrounded by eight smaller domes of various sized with fancy decorative surfaces • Low, flat, rounded arches mixed with triangular forms and tall, slender window-like shallow spaces
  49. 49. Inside St. Basil’s Cathedral
  51. 51. • Most characteristic work of Byzantine art is the ICON – a religious devotional image usually of portable size and hanging in a place of honor either at home or in a religious place • ICON has wooden foundation, covered with coats of paint, sometimes includes fish glue (eww) or putty, cloth placed over this base, layers of stucco applied on top (who thought of this method??) • Coated with varnish to protect it (they are often touched) • Many have become blackened with soot from candles and incense. – Therefore, many have been repainted and are not “original” looking • Icons carried in religious processions (this still happens today), sometimes placed on city walls in times of invasion • Some believe they possess spiritual powers – sacred to Byz. people • Icons are not IDOLATRY = the worship of images • Icon = Veneration of an idea or holy person depicted in a work of art • Icons are aids to meditation and prayer – a bridge between worshippers and the holy people they depicted • Icons displayed on screens in churches - ICONOSTASIS
  52. 52. ICONOSTASIS example St. Tikhons Orthodox Monastery, South Canaan, Pennsylvania, USA.
  53. 53. Virgin and Child with Saints and Angels (Icon) 6th century Encaustic (wax) on wood •Many images of the Virgin and Child show Mary on a throne with Christ in her lap •Theodore (left) and George (right) are warrior-saints (dragon slayers!) = symbolic of the church over the “evil serpent” of paganism •Angels look up at heavenmore realistic looking than saints. Saints have rich patterns on their cloaks- hardly show bodies beneath
  54. 54. Virgin of Vladmir (icon) 11th-12th century Tempera paint on wood •Probably from Constantinople •Mary and Christ embrace tenderly •Humanized image- personal •Thought to protect people of the city where it resided (went to many cities) •Now in Moscow
  55. 55. Characteristics of Byzantine Art: •Combo of Greek, Roman, and formal Medieval style (chapter 14) •Classically trained artists used innovative poses (unusual angles), soft transitions between colors, relaxed figure stance •Medieval-trained artists favored frontal poses, symmetry, and almost weightless bodies. Little effort to show body (covered with drapery). Perspective unimportant, godl background, halos •Byzantine paintings don’t have nudity (it’s immodest and has a pagan association to mythological art of ancient Greece and Rome) •Painted manuscripts – fine detail, jewel colors •Because so few people could read, having a manuscript was a status symbol, library=temple of learning
  56. 56. Justinian and Attendants, 547 CE, mosaic from San Vitale, Ravenna Byzantine Emperor Justinian w/ military and clergy
  57. 57. Details •Ideal of human beauty is much different than 4th and 5th century short, squat figures •Now slim and tall, tiny feet, small almond-shaped faces, huge staring eyes, long thin noses, short closed mouths, bodies are used only for displaying costumes, not movingeternal present rather than action •Combination of divine and secular court (clergy and military, church and state) •Justinian in royal purple (purple used for royalty and sometimes on Jesus)
  58. 58. Halo • • • • Minimal background, green base at feet, gold = timelessness/heaven Custom is to approach emperor with hands covered as sign of respect Nearly every figure here has one hand covered No attempt at psychological impact or individuality • Symmetrical, frontal figures • Holds a “paten”- a shallow bowl or plate for the Eucharist (bread as body of Christ) • Overlapping of figures, might be in a procession forward
  59. 59. • Figures have no volume, float, overlapping feet • Maximianus identified- patron saint of San Vitale • Halo = saintliness, semi-divinity as head of church and state (not separate back then!) • Positioned over altar in church – Justinian participates in the Mass! Maximianus
  60. 60. Theodora and Attendants, 547 CE, mosaic from San Vitale, Ravenna
  61. 61. • Empress Theodora = Justinian’s wife • Mosaic is positioned by altar – Theodora and Justinian participate in the Mass • Shimmering gold, colored stones, and glass – each piece positioned at an odd angle to catch flickering of candles or sunlight, glittering world of gold and floating shapes – what they thought heaven would be like Detail
  62. 62. • Slight displacement of symmetry with Theodora – plays a secondary role to her husband • Richly robed empress with ladies at royal court • She stands in an architectural framework, holding a chalice for the ceremony, about to go behind the curtain held open for her • Three Magi depicted on hem of her dress – bring gifts to baby Jesus • Parallel – she’s bringing a gift (chalice) to the holy ceremony (Mass)
  63. 63. Sant’Apollinare in Classe, 549 CE, apse mosaic, Ravenna, Italy
  64. 64. Sant’Apollinare in Classe interior vs. interior Who would ever guess it looked like that inside based on the blah exterior Stark, unadorned exterior echoes crudeness of outside world Richly decorated interior symbolizes the soul
  65. 65. • Saint Apollinaris (first bishop of Ravenna) has hands raised in orant position (posture of prayer), dressed in bishop garb • 12 sheep = 12 apostles, 12 tribes of Israel, and/or parishioners of the church w/ bishop as symbolic “leader of the flock” Three upper sheep symbolize three apostles who witnessed Jesus’s transfiguration – the moment he is revealed to be divine (Matthew 17:1-8). Sheep might also represent the trinity. Wow, sheep are symbolic! Bonus- they’re cute too
  66. 66. • Moses and Elijah flank cross (they are Old Testament prophets, and here they watch Christ’s transfiguration) • Hand of God comes down from clouds to bless the scene Flatness of forms, moving away from classical naturalistic depictions
  67. 67. Detail
  68. 68. Detail
  69. 69. Detail
  70. 70. PANTOCRATOR, late 11th century, Church of the Dormition, Greece •mosaic •Christ in dome over nave of church- he sees and understands as he looks down from heaven •He looks stern, severe, awesome, and a little menacing – owl like eyes, forked beard, gap in beard above chin, hair swept on forehead
  71. 71. •Christ set in a sea of gold •Christ’s name written in Greek •Christ as Pantocrator (ruler of the universe) • upper body pose, hand on Bible, right hand blessing Jesus is always largest Frequently wearing blue or purple (royal) •strong contrast of light and dark instead of showing depth with subtle tonal gradations •jagged, geometric folds in fabric
  72. 72. PANTOCRATOR, 12th century, Monreale, Sicily -mosaic in Monreale’s cathedral (left) Smo with mom and dad 
  73. 73. •Christ at top of wall of mosaics (hierarchy) •Monumental scale •Stern, severe, awesome, grand •Right hand blessing gesture, left hand holds Bible written in Latin and Greek •Image of Christ also resembles God the Father (Christ/God combo) •Pointed arches (hmmm…. this is a hint of Gothic style, which is soon) •Massive amounts of mosaics in this cathedral. Over one acre of gold mosaic- dazzling, heaven-like
  74. 74. David Composing the Psalms from the Paris Psalter, 10th century •Tempera paint on vellum paper •Psalter = book of psalms from Bible •Classical-looking figures and landscape •Vibrant color, variety of colors, balanced color •Muscular bodies contrast with the stiff drapery
  75. 75. •David is inspired by Melody as he plays harp •Melody’s body- upper part is classical, lower part is medieval style •Personification of Echo holds a loving cup – prize for musicians •Lower right – muscular figure symbolizing Mountains of Bethlehem •Jewel-like border frames scene •Manuscript painters had a fine eye for detail- trained to work with precision •Gold (like mosaics & icons) •Paris Psalter is an excellent example of the sophisticated style of manuscript painting
  76. 76. Old Testament Trinity by Andrei Rublev 15th century, tempera paint on wood •Heads of angels nearly identical •Extensive use of gold •Flat, nearly spaceless background •Deep colors in fabric •Luminous colors •Poses mirror each other •Byzantine artists liked repeating older art, no modern advances here •Old Testament angels who appeared to Sarah and Abraham in the book of Genesis- symbol of Christian Trinity (God, Christ, Holy Spirit)
  77. 77. ….and a little sculpture Saint Michael the Archangel, early 6th century, ivory •One leaf of an ivory diptych (don’t buy ivory!) •Roman elaborate hair style, classical drapery •Delicate folds, see body beneath fabric •Detailed classical architecture carved •Orb and scepter- imperial imagery •St. Michael hovers in front of arch •Space is confusing- feet placed on several steps. Is he standing or floating? Feet are on steps behind the columns, but his wings are in front of the columns. Hm. Maybe the artist didn’t think this one through. •St. Michael spans Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Defeated Satan in the war in heaven. •He is the patron saint of police officers, military, grocers, mariners, and paratroopers. Just sayin’.
  78. 78. Harbaville Triptych, 10th century, ivory (don’t buy ivory!) (small portable altar for private use, small-scale relief, 24x28 cm)
  79. 79. •Individualized heads, similar bodies- same size, dressed alike, symmetrically arranged •Mostly frontal, but some bodies are slightly turned •Sharp, crisp lines, delicate carving, jewel-like cuts •Angels are in medallions •Many have hands covered= sign of respect/ approaching someone higher •Name labels (Medieval trend)
  80. 80. BYZANTINE SUMMARY! •Byzantine = eastern half of Roman Empire 1000 years beyond the fall of Rome, Constantinople is the center- one of the most impressive cities in history •Lavish works of art •Shimmering gold mosaics = heavenly world and opulence •Icons thought to have spiritual powers •Ivory carved with great precision •Invented PENDENTIVE •Death of Byzantine empire in 1453, but Byzantine art continues in Russia, eastern Europe, and Greecelasted into the 20th century!