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Byzantine Art and Architecture

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Longest lasting empire just short of Egyptian ... Former dancer and prostitute. Tough-minded woman. Added strength and power. Equal to her husband ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Byzantine Art and Architecture


1
Byzantine Art and Architecture
2
Byzantine History
  • Capital of Roman Empire moved to Constantinople
  • More advantageous trade route between Asia and
    Europe
  • Reached its highest expression of power in early
    6th century when Justinian took the throne
  • Longest lasting empire just short of Egyptian
  • Exerted strong cultural influence over Christian
    world

3
Justinian A powerful ruler
  • Came from a simple family in the countryside
  • Signifies belief that anyone can become ruler
  • Ruler chosen from birth by God
  • Married Theodora
  • Former dancer and prostitute
  • Tough-minded woman
  • Added strength and power
  • Equal to her husband

4
Justinian contd
  • Brought economic stability to empire
  • Revised and codified Roman Law
  • Became basis for all courts
  • Became basis in later centuries of Roman Law in
    the west
  • Showed immense generosity to the church
  • Church Art

5
Byzantine Architecture
  • Most famous church Hagia Sophia
  • Name means Holy Wisdom
  • Church is the culminating example of Byzantine
    architecture known as arcuate domicile
  • Built between 532-537
  • Was once the largest church in the world

6
Hagia Sophia
  • Bricks alternated with mortar were not properly
    balanced for weight
  • Collapses occurred during two earthquakes
  • Rebuilt
  • Arches buckled and buttresses were erected

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10
Hagia Sophia
  • Emphasis is placed on the elevated central
    pavilion
  • Image of heaven
  • Tall, open spaces
  • Need for light
  • Pavilion is a large dome with two half domes
    flanking the east and west sides

11
Hagia Sophia
  • In order to create a transcendental environment,
    dome could not be heavy as seen in typical barrel
    vault techniques
  • Architects Anthemius and Isidore created and used
    pendentives
  • Triangular masonry devices that carried the
    weight of the dome on massive piers

12
Hagia Sophia
  • Shows elements of old basilica styles
  • Columned side aisles
  • Gallery for female worship
  • Overwhelming visual impression from dome

13
Need for light
  • Light symbol of divine wisdom
  • Forty windows make the dome appear to be floating
  • Light refracted off the rich mosaics and colored
    marbled interior

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17
Mosaics
  • Mosaics are icons
  • A window into the world of the sacred
  • One stands before the icon and speaks through its
    image to the reality beyond
  • (Justinian had several mosaics of himself
    created thought he represented Christ on Earth)
  • Religious figures always surrounded by halo of
    light.

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