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Movements, Styles, and Tendencies Byzantine Art and Architecture

Byzantine Art and Architecture

Byzantine Art and Architecture Collage

Started: 330

Ended: 1453

"For it soars to a height to match the sky, and as if surging up from amongst the other buildings it stands on high and looks down upon the remainder of the city, adorning it, because it is a part of it, but glorying in its own beauty."

Synopsis

Existing for over a thousand years, the Byzantine Empire cultivated diverse and sumptuous arts to engage the viewers' senses and transport them to a more spiritual plane as well as to emphasize the divine rights of the emperor. Spanning the time between antiquity and the Middle Ages, Byzantine art encompassed an array of regional styles and influences and developed long-lasting Christian iconography that is familiar to practitioners today.

Because of its longevity and geographical scope, Byzantine art does not necessarily proceed in a linear progression of stylistic innovations. Its origins in the Roman Empire meant that even in the face of unclassical tendencies that favored hierarchical compositions and symbolic meanings there were periods of revival that emphasized more naturalistic renderings that foregrounded storytelling. Within this milieu, distinctive styles of mosaics and icon paintings developed, and innovations in frescos, illuminated manuscripts, and small-scale sculptures and enamel work would have lasting influence not just in Eastern realms such as Turkey and Russia but also in Europe and even in contemporary religious painting.

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