byzantine art 600 800 l.
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Emperor Justinian and Courtiers, c. 547, San Vitale, Ravenna. Byzantine Art (600-800). Roman Catholic vs. Eastern Orthodox Religions. The split of the empire also causes a religious rift, creating the Catholic Church in the West and the Orthodox Church in the East.

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roman catholic vs eastern orthodox religions
Roman Catholic vs. Eastern Orthodox Religions
  • The split of the empire also causes a religious rift, creating the Catholic Church in the West and the Orthodox Church in the East.
  • Church ideology becomes very different. Catholic Church remains separate from the state. Sees itself as a spiritual ruling body. The Orthodox Church was based on the union of spiritual and secular authority in the emperor. Had political power. Like the divine kingship of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Emperors were at the head of the Church as well as the State.
byzantine art
Byzantine Art
  • Byzantine art is the art of the Eastern Roman Empire and describes a certain style.
  • Byzantium stays under remains under the emperor’s control.
  • Brought to a new level of power and stability under Justinian (527—565AD)
  • The Eastern Empire of Byzantium hangs on even through attacks by Arabian armies until it falls to the Turks in 1453. Lasts up to the Renaissance!
political and spiritual leaders in the east and west
Political and Spiritual Leaders in the East and West
  • West--Theodoric (German) as political leader
  • West--pope as spiritual leader
  • East--Justinian as both spiritual and political leader
  • Justinian retains idea of Emperor as partly divine
early christian churches
Early Christian Churches

San Vitale, Ravenna, c. 526-547

hagia sophia
Hagia Sophia
  • 523-537 AD
  • Built by Justinian in Constantinople
  • Combination of central plan and early Christian basilica
characteristics of byzantine art
Characteristics of Byzantine Art
  • Flattened, symbolic, (heavenly) space (gold backgrounds common)
  • Shapes and figures show continuing trend toward shallow space
  • Details are described by line, not light and shade
  • Elongated proportions
  • Dematerialized bodies with strong emphasis on the eyes
  • Ornate haloes (fr. Persia - designating descent from the Sun)
  • Narrative is created by flat, symbolic shapes, lined up
  • Iconoclastic Controversy
  • Began with edict of 726 prohibiting religious images
  • Emperor Leo III, after Justinian, strictly interpreted the Ten Commandments
  • Finally ended in 843 by a later Empress Theodora, wife of Emperor Theophilus
  • Iconodules triumphed
byzantine icons
Byzantine Icons
  • During the 9th century, religions icons became an important part of the Eastern Orthodox Church
  • Become very symbolic, using specific iconography
  • Icons used as objects of devotion
  • Icons become more and more abstract and stylized
byzantine icons19
Byzantine Icons

6th century

13th century

14th century