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  1. 1. Byzantine Art Sandrine Le Bail AP Art History
  2. 2. Objectives • Survey the variety of stylistic sources and development that characterized the long history of Byzantine art. • Understand the principal theme and subjects - secular as well as sacred- used by Byzantine artists.
  3. 3. Objectives • Assess the central role of images in the devotional practices of the Byzantine world and explore the reasons for and impact of the brief interlude of iconoclasm. • Trace the growing Byzantine interest in conveying human emotions and representing human situations when visualizing sacred stories.
  4. 4. Tetrarchs
  5. 5. 330 - Foundation of Constantinople Constantine founded Constantinople (now Istanbul) on the site of the ancient Greek city of Byzantium in 324 and dedicated this “New Rome” to the Christian God in 330.
  6. 6. 476 – Disparition of the Western Empire
  7. 7. Iconoclastic Controversy (8th -9th century) From 726 to 758 and From 815 to 843
  8. 8. Iconoclastic Controversy • In 726, Leo III (r.717-741) enacted a ban against picturing the divine, initiating the era of iconoclasm and the destruction of countless Early Byzantine artworks. • Empress Theodora repealed iconoclasm in 843 and in 867, Basil I dedicated a new mosaic depicting the Theotokos (Mother of God) in Hagia Sophia. It marked the triumph of the iconophiles over the iconoclasts.
  9. 9. 1054 – East West Schism West East • Roman Catholic Church • Pope • Rome • Latin • Eastern Orthodox Church • Patriarch of Constantinople • Constantinople • Greek
  10. 10. 1204 – Siege of Constantinople
  11. 11. 1204 – Siege of Constantinople
  12. 12. • In 1204, Latin crusaders sacked Constantinople, bringing to an end the Middle Byzantine era. • In 1261, Michael VIII Palaeologus succeeded in recapturing the city. Constantinople remained in Byzantine hands until its capture by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
  13. 13. Byzantine Architecture
  14. 14. Justinian (r.527-565) • The first golden age of Byzantine art was the result of the lavish patronage of Justinian. • Wanted to conquer lost western territories and revive elements of the classical Roman Empire
  15. 15. Justinian and Ravenna The seat of Byzantine power in Italy was Ravenna, which prospered under Justinian. San Vitale is Ravenna’s greater church. Its mosaics, with their weightless, hovering, frontal figures against a gold background, reveal the new Byzantine aesthetic.
  16. 16. San Vitale, Ravenna, 540-547 Emperor Justinian
  17. 17. Apsidial chapel sanctuary
  18. 18. Apse mosaic, San Vitale, Ravenna, 540- 547
  19. 19. Apse mosaic, San Vitale, Ravenna, 540- 547 • Jesus = early Christian style (young and clean- shaven) • Sphere = world • 4 rivers of paradise • Still naturalism but stiffer • Frontality • Golden background - spirituality
  20. 20. Court of Justinian, San Vitale, Ravenna, c. 547
  21. 21. Court of Theodora, San Vitale, Ravenna, c. 547
  22. 22. Characteristics • Golden background • Hierarchy • No perspective • The folds of the clothes hide the body • Flat • Spatial representation not realistic
  23. 23. Justinian and Constantinople In Constantinople alone, Justinian built or restored more than 30 churches. The greatest was Hagia Sophia, which rivaled the architectural wonders of Old Rome.
  24. 24. Hagia Sofia, Costantinople, 532-537 Architects: Isodoros of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles
  25. 25. • For almost 1000 years = seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantine. • Became a mosque when the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottoman Turks • Now a museum
  26. 26. Approximate reconstruction of how the Church appeared in the 12th century
  27. 27. lunette
  28. 28. Roman:
  29. 29. Pendentives
  30. 30. Capital
  31. 31. Justinian’s imperial church – Shows the power and the willingness to unit all Christian
  32. 32. A brilliant fusion of central and longitudinal plans, Hagia Sophia’s 180 foot-high dome rests on pendentives but seemed to contemporaries to be suspended “ by a golden chain from Heaven”
  33. 33. Middle Byzantine Art 843-1204
  34. 34. Middle Byzantine Art • End of iconoclasm • Importance of ivory carving and manuscript painting • Churches: Highly decorative exterior walls and domes resting on drums above the center of the Greek cross. • Climax of the interior mosaic program: Christ as Pantokrator in the dome.
  35. 35. Hosios Loukas, Greece, 10-11th century
  36. 36. Hosios Loukas, Greece, 10-11th century Highly decorative exterior walls / Domes above the center of the Greek cross. Large windows with little holes
  37. 37. Squinch
  38. 38. Baptism of Christ
  39. 39. Crucifixion
  40. 40. St. Mark cathedral, Venice, Italy, 1063
  41. 41. St. Mark Cathedral, Venice, Italy, 1063
  42. 42. St. Mark Cathedral, Venice, Italy, 1063
  43. 43. Iconostasis
  44. 44. Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia, 1555-1561
  45. 45. Byzantine Painting
  46. 46. Volumen vs Codex Volumen Codex (pl. codices) Parchment or vellum
  47. 47. David composing the Psalms, from the Paris Psalter, c.950-970 Psalter: a book of the psalms from the Hebrew scriptures.
  48. 48. Icons Icon: devotional panel depicting a sacred image.
  49. 49. Icon of the Virgin and Child between Saints Theodore and George from the Monastery of Saint Catherine, Sinai, Egypt, 6th or early 7th century
  50. 50. Mary • Very strong codification • Hieratic • Body concealed beneath a blue robe • Large eye • Small mouth • Theodokos “God Bearer” • Throne of wisdom
  51. 51. Theotokos, apse mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, 867
  52. 52. Vladimir Virgin, 12th century Theotokos Virgin Eleusa (Tenderness)
  53. 53. Monreale, Sicily, c.1172-1176
  54. 54. Pantocrator, 1180-1190, Cathedral, Monreale, Sicily Pantocrator: litterally “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.
  55. 55. Evolution of Byzantine painting • Importance of icons • Less Realistic • More Symbolic • Priority: spiritual rather than the natural • Same traditions for several hundred years.
  56. 56. Byzantine Sculpture
  57. 57. Byzantine Sculpture • No large scale statues • No in the round statues • Ivory and precious metal • Small size • Reliefs
  58. 58. • Ivory carving flourished during the Middle Byzantine period. Hinged ivory shrines, such as the Harbaville Triptych, were popular for use in private prayer.
  59. 59. Harbaville Triptych, c.950 Triptych: A three- paneled painting or sculpture
  60. 60. Questions • Characterize the role of the Classical tradition, already notable in the Early Christian period, in the developing history of Byzantine art. When was it used? In what sorts of contexts? Develop your discussion in relation to two specific examples from two different periods of Byzantine art.
  61. 61. Questions • How were images used in Byzantine worship? Why were images suppressed during iconoclasm?

Notas del editor

  • 4th Century – foundation of Constantinople - Byzantium
    5th century Empire split in 2
  • Western Empire disappeared in 476
  • Western Empire disapeared in 476
    Barbarians invasion
    Borders changed a lot
    Greek vs Latin
    Orthodox Christianity vs Roman church
    Capital city: Constantinople
  • Western Empire disapeared in 476
    Barbarians invaion
  • Importance of icon.
    2 groups:
    Iconoclasts – forbidden in the Bible / Idolatry
    Iconophiles – S. Luke painted the Virgin
    Most of the Art of before 9th century was destroyed – We have to study the Western ones
    Many artists came to Occident
    843 – end of the iconoclast period – lot of energy
  • Major split
    Opposition between the Pope and the Patriarch of Costantinople
    Excommunicated each other
    Eastern Orthodox Church vs Roman Catholic Church

  • Crusaders wanted a free access to Holy land
    Came to Constantinople and sacked it.
    Lot of Venetian
    Lot of works od art came to Western world admired and copied
    Constantinople became weak –
  • Stolen to Constantinople (from hippodrome)
    Lot of art stolen and destroyed
    Latin occupation from 1204 to 1261 – Political fragmentation
    Beginning of the decline
    conquest by Turks in 1453
    Huge impact for western world
  • Justinian as World Conqueror / Barberini ivory
    Peace treaty with Persian
    Classical Roman style as a triumphant emperor on horseback with his spear
    Earth holding the emperor foot
  • Justinian defeated the Northern tribes
    Political and artistic preeminence
    Saint Vital – Roman slaves and Christian Martyr
    Ravenna is the capital
  • Centrally planned octogon
  • 2 floors – women?
    Use of the light
    Dematerialization of the mass structure
    Gold mosaic – importance of the light for Christian
  • Apse
  • Paradise / 4 rivers
    Christ – young and beardless // Apollo Royal purple robe
    In the same church : Christ with beard – coexistence of 2 models
    S. Vitale and Eclesius
    Still naturalism but stiffer
    The folds don’t reveal the body
    No perspective
  • Visual testament to Justinian’s religious, administrative and military authority
    Archbishop Maximian (golden cloth)
    Gold background – no nature, no landscape… Spiritual
    Sense of hierarchy
    Courtly custon carried over into the liturgy of the church ” . Example – hands covered for respect of the emperor
    Justinian has never been in Ravenna // presence of the Emperor and justification of the power of the church
  • Less realistic –desire to be devided from the pagans
  • Apse
    No floor /feet) / no perspective
    No movement
    Baptismal fountain
    Art become more symbolic
  • By Justinian
    Exterior – plain, massive, without decoration
    2 Greek mathematician: Isodoros of Miletus and Anthemus of Tralles
    Fireproof church
    Classical roman construction method
    Importance of Costantinople
    Heavy load
    Huge buttresses
    Minaret (1453 – Turks captured the city)
  • Dome slighlty smaller than the Pantheon
  • Fusion of basilica and centrally planned building
    Dome – one layer of brick thinner and thinner
    Screen walls because load bearing function by piers
    Multiplication of windows
    How it is possible to go from square shape to circular shape?
  • Axonometric projection
  • All the weight on the 4 piers – Walls can be largely opened
  • Influence of classic art (ionic) but extraordinary pattern
  • Light with gold
    The apse altard less importance than the dome
    Huge place for mosaics
  • Justinian’s imperial church – show its power and willness to unit all the Christian
  • Even if very conplex buidling – unity thanks to he cornices
  • Early byzantine – austere exterior
    Middle byzantine – more decorated with colored marble
    Lower dome
    Small surface but high elevation
    Large window with little holes - mystery
  • Early byzantine – austere exterior
    Middle byzantine – more decorated with colored marble
    Lower dome
    Small surface but high elevation
    Large window with little holes - mystery
  • Squinch
  • Same function than pendentive – more flexible can take more shape
  • Golden background become –
    No perspective Graceful figures
    Symbolic – sun and moon floating
    Glittering / each piece placed on a different angle
    Symbolic gestures
  • Venice not in the byzantine empire but strong influence
  • 5 domes
  • Iconostasis – one part of the mass have to be hidden
  • Icons
  • Combination of the classical heritage if ancient Greece and Rome
    More formal and hieratic: highly stylized or formal
    Artists trained with a classical tradition
    Artists with a medieval formalism
  • Volumen – up to 10 m long
    Importance of painting
    Very expensive and rare – Status . library
  • Psalter – book of Psalms from Old Testament
    Classical model: figures and landscape
    Brillant and composed color
    Dynamic contrast between muscular bodies and stiff drapery
    David is inspired by Melody (halfclassical / half medieval)
    Echo behind a loving cup given as a prize for the best singer Personnification oif Mountains of Bethlehem (muscular /
    Jewel-like border framme
    Curves dominates composition
    Combination of the clasiicalheritage of Rome and Greek with the more fornal and hieratic medieval time
  • Religious devotional image
    Holy image
    Portable In private house or church or monastery
    Wood with plaster – painted and gilded – Glaze for protection
    Often touched / kissed / candles
    Paraded during feasts /procession
    Unchanged traditions for centuries
    Very codified type
    Frontal poses / Symmetry / weightless bodies
    Big eyes /small mouth closed / Thin and long nose
    Timeless space / golden backgrounds – Drapery is emphasized
    Facial types standarnized – no psychological penetration or individual insight
    No portrait
  • Encaustic on wood
    Monastery built to the place where God appeared to Moses / Chapel of the Burning Bush
    Oldest inhabited Christian Monastery / built by Justinian
    According to the Koran, a letter of protection was given to the monastery in the 7th century – Only Christian site separed
    Devotion / Prayer
    In the Koran – Mohammed wrote a letter of protection. Not destroyed by Muslim
    No narrative / no landscape
    Symbolic and with a strong codification
    Matu – Theokos “god bearer”
    Hair and body caoncelaed beneath a blue robe
    Large eye and small month

  • Tempera on wood
    Brought from Constantinople to Russia, Tetrykov gallery in Moscow
    Importance of Byzantine Art in the Salvic lands
    One of the most venerated orthodox icon/ Holy protectress of Russia
    Eleousa – right hand with tenderness
    Unknown painter – Spiritual (monks)
    Only the face and hands are original – clothes damaged by riza
  • For Normans
    Mosaics – 1179-1782
    Largest Byzantine mosaic cycle extant, dazzling recreation of a heavenly realm on earth
    6.340 m2
    Local and artists from Constantinople
  • Elaborate hierarchy
    Pointed arches suggest the beginnings of the Gothic style
    Largest Byzantine mosaic cycle extant, dazzling recreation of a heavenly realm on earth
  • Pantocrator – the all powerful / the omnipotent
    (combination between Jesus Christ and God Father)
    Only for representation of God
    In opposition with the Christ suffering
    Bible (greek and latin) in one hand, Blessing in the other one
    Monumental scale /Solidity
    Sterness / severeness / awesome grandeur
  • Desire to be separated from pagan past
  • Louvre
    28x24 cm
    Mixt of western and Oriental tradition
  • Christ with S. Peter and Virgin Mary, interceding for human
    Around Saints and Apostle participate to the prayer
    Individualized heads
    Frontality broken up by slight turns of the body
    Sharp crips line
    Angels appear in medallion
    Jewel-like delicacy of craving
    Hand are covered
    Names labeled
    Same size, symmetry