- Art associated with the Byzantine Empire.Its characteristic styles were first codified in the 6th century and persisted with remarkable homogeneity until the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. Concerned almost exclusively with religious expression, it tends to reflect an intensely hierarchical view of the universe. It relies on vigour of line and brilliance of colour; individual features are absent, forms are flattened, and perspective is absent. Walls, vaults, and domes were covered in mosaic and fresco decoration in a total fusion of architectural and pictorial expression. Byzantine sculpture was largely limited to small ivory reliefs. The importance of Byzantine art to European religious art was immense; the style was spread by trade and expansion to the Mediterranean basin, eastern European centres, and especially Russia. See also Byzantine architecture.
* * *architecture, paintings (painting), and other visual arts produced in the Middle Ages in the Byzantine Empire (centred at Constantinople) and in various areas that came under its influence. The pictorial and architectural styles that characterized Byzantine art, first codified in the 6th century, persisted with remarkable homogeneity within the empire until its final dissolution with the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453.A brief treatment of Byzantine art follows. For a treatment of Byzantine architecture, see Western architecture: The Christian East (Western architecture). For a treatment of Byzantine painting, see Western painting: Eastern Christian (painting, Western).Byzantine art is almost entirely concerned with religious expression and, more specifically, with the impersonal translation of carefully controlled church theology into artistic terms. Its forms of architecture and painting grew out of these concerns and remained uniform and anonymous, perfected within a rigid tradition rather than varied according to personal whim; the result was a sophistication of style and a spirituality of expression rarely paralleled in Western art.The earliest Byzantine architecture, though determined by the longitudinal basilica (q.v.) church plan developed in Italy, favoured the extensive use of large domes and vaults. Circular domes, however, were not structurally or visually suited to a longitudinal arrangement of the walls that supported them; thus, by the 10th century, a radial plan, consisting of four equal vaulted arms proceeding from a dome over their crossing, had been adopted in most areas. This central, radial plan was well suited to the hierarchical view of the universe emphasized by the Eastern church. This view was made explicit in the iconographic (iconography) scheme of church decoration, set forth in the frescoes (fresco painting), or more often, mosaics (mosaic), that covered the interiors of domes, walls, and vaults of churches in a complete fusion of architectural and pictorial expression. In the top of the central dome was the severe figure of the Pantocrator (the all-ruling Father). Below him, usually around the base of the dome, were angels and archangels and, on the walls, figures of the saints. The Virgin Mary was often pictured high in a half-dome covering one of the four radial arms. The lowest realm was that of the congregation. The whole church thus formed a microcosm of the universe. The iconographic scheme also reflected liturgy; narrative scenes from the lives of Christ and the Virgin, instead of being placed in chronological order along the walls, as in Western churches, were chosen for their significance as feast days and ranged around the church according to their theological significance.The style in which these mosaics and frescoes were executed reflected their function as static, symbolic images of the divine and the Absolute. The mature Byzantine style, evolved through the stylization and standardization of late classical forms of Early Christian art, was based on the dynamic of lines and flat areas of colour rather than form. Individual features were suppressed in favour of a standard facial type, figures were flattened, and draperies were reduced to patterns of swirling lines. The total effect was one of disembodiment, the three-dimensional representation of an individual human figure replaced by a spiritual presence the force of which depended upon vigour of line and brilliance of colour. The Byzantine image was at once more remote and more immediate than the naturalistic classical one. The effect of immediacy was increased by the severely frontal pose and the Byzantine facial type, with its huge eyes and penetrating gaze, and by the characteristic use of a gold background which, in pictures of isolated figures, made the image appear to be suspended somewhere between the wall and the viewer.Little sculpture was produced in the Byzantine Empire. The most frequent use of sculpture was in small relief carvings in ivory, used for book covers, reliquary boxes, and similar objects. Other miniature arts, embroidery, goldwork, and enamelwork, flourished in the sophisticated and wealthy society of Constantinople. Manuscript illumination (illuminated manuscript), though it could not approach the impressive effects of monumental painting and mosaic, was important in spreading Byzantine style and iconography through Europe.Aside from its own achievements the importance of Byzantine art to the religious art of Europe cannot be overestimated. Byzantine forms were spread by trade and conquest to Italy and Sicily, where they persisted in modified form through the 12th century and became formative influences on Italian Renaissance art. By means of the expansion of the Eastern Orthodox church, Byzantine forms spread to eastern European centres, particularly Russia, where they remained intact, though again with local modification, through the 17th century.
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Byzantine Art — • The art of the Eastern Roman Empire and of its capital Byzantium, or Constantinople Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Byzantine Art Byzantine Art … Catholic encyclopedia
Byzantine art — The most famous of the surviving Byzantine mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople the image of Christ Pantocrator on the walls of the upper southern gallery. Christ is flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. The mosaics were made… … Wikipedia
BYZANTINE ART — a decorative style of art patronised by the Romans after the seat of empire was removed to the East; it has been described by Mr. Fairholt as an engraftment of Oriental elaboration of detail upon classic forms, ending in their debasement … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
Chios Museum of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art — is a museum in Chios, Greece.External links* [http://www.greeka.com/eastern aegean/chios/chios museums.htm www.greeka.com] … Wikipedia
Art Byzantin — Histoire de l art Série art byzantin Périodes Premier art byzantin Iconoclasme Dynastie macédonienne … Wikipédia en Français
Byzantine dress — changed considerably over the thousand years of the Empire, but was essentially conservative. The Byzantines liked colour and pattern, and made and exported very richly patterned cloth, woven and embroidered for the upper classes, and resist dyed … Wikipedia
Byzantine Literature — • The four cultural elements included are the Greek, the Christian, the Roman, and the Oriental Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Byzantine Literature Byzantine Literature … Catholic encyclopedia
Byzantine Architecture — • A mixed style, i.e. a style composed of Graeco Roman and Oriental elements which, in earlier centuries, cannot be clearly separated Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Byzantine Architecture Byzantine Architectur … Catholic encyclopedia
Byzantine Greeks — or Byzantines or Romaioi, is a conventional term used by modern historians to refer to the medieval Greek or Hellenized citizens of the Byzantine Empire, centered mainly in Constantinople, the southern Balkans, the Greek islands, Asia Minor… … Wikipedia
Byzantine Empire — This article is about the medieval Roman empire. For other uses, see Byzantine (disambiguation). Roman Empire Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, Ῥωμανία Basileia Rhōmaiōn, Rhōmanía Imperium Romanum, Romania … Wikipedia