Byzantine art


To refer to Byzantine art , we must also refer to the Byzantine Empire , which lasted for more than a thousand years, from the 4th century until Constantinople fell in the year 1543. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire remained for many years, embracing the Roman heritage , the Greek culture and also the Christian faith . Its power was in the hands of an emperor, who was in charge of keeping the Empire alive for many years. We call Byzantine art the art that developed in that empire and in all the countries that received its cultural influence. We can say that Byzantine art is a mixture between Roman art , theHellenistic art and oriental art . It is one of the greatest art events in the world, used in temples representing human figures caused a great feeling of spirituality.


What is Byzantine art?

The Byzantine art is one of the biggest events that occurred worldwide. A perfect mix between Roman, Hellenistic and Eastern art was used strongly in the temples of the place to represent human figures, generating a feeling of spirituality among the people.


Characteristics of Byzantine art

For Byzantine art, the church was conceived as a small cosmos full of divinity , it was a place in which everything that was there had a symbolism . They were a group of churches based on mystical beliefs and full of spirituality. They sought to create a place that was the axis of everything but that at the same time was divided into spaces that could intercommunicate with each other and for this reason they used a series of curtains formed by archery lines . They did not use the individualization of the elements since they were looking for a way to create a space that was continuous.


It had a mysterious and somewhat mythical aspect because of the effect they caused with its light, and this was of great importance to them. The use of mosaics was another important characteristic, since it gave the feeling of unification between its parts. Its architects, although they imitated Roman architects in certain points, developed a whole scientific study for the construction creating an architectural model by merging the basilica and central plan joined by a large dome . The external parts were built with materials of low quality and price such as bricks, since for them the interior wasmore important than the outside, just like the Romans did. The internal columns were made of rich and luxurious materials.

Byzantine art history

Byzantine art was divided into three important stages :

First Golden Age : This stage occurred during the 6th and 7th centuries. This was an important time in which a unique and artistic language was born . Its most important moment was when Justinian was King during the years 527 and 565, during which time the iconoclastic dispute arose .

Second Golden Age : This stage defined Byzantine iconography , there was also the schism of the Eastern Church during the 9th and 12th centuries, a time during which a tremendous crisis arises due to the conquest against Constantinople founding the new Empire Latino.

Third Golden Age : It happens when in 1258, the paleologist Michael VIII , founded a completely new dynasty and began a new cultural and social renaissance, which lasted until Constantinople was invaded by the Turks.

Architecture in Byzantine art

Byzantine art What is it, history, characteristics, architecture, painting

Regarding the architecture of Byzantine art , we can mention that the First Golden Age was the most important period of its architecture. It was an imperial architecture , with high prices because the emperor had a lot of money to be able to finance all expenses. The churches were built with a central base and many vaults , surrounded by halls and pavilions in their gardens. Apparently, one of the aspects that most influenced its architecture was the liturgy, which did not need a special place if there were no separation between its rooms. They used stones and mosaics for the structures creating an environment that somehow manifested the presence of God in the place. His works were perfect and his architecture unrepeatable in the world. Later, they used bricks combined with colored stones, the domes were built higher and had much more style.

Byzantine painting

Byzantine art used abundantly the golden color , with it, they represented the sky . The painting reached its greatest splendor during the 14th century, prior to this date, it was actually a bit scarce. They worshiped icons and religious paintings made on tables.  All the icons they painted were placed in churches so that they could be venerated by their faithful and in this way they sought to represent Christ, the saints and the Virgin . The frescoes, paintings on church walls and on panels stood out. Byzantine painting used mosaicas the main theme and they represented the figures in an elongated way, with their hands in a position to be carrying an object. They painted the faces giving him an expression of majesty and tranquility.

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