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circa (AD330-1453)


Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire, its provinces, and Eastern Orthodox states which were influenced by I such as Bulgaria, Serbia, and Russia, from about the 4th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Appearing mostly in religious mosaics, manuscript illuminations, and panel paintings, it is characterized by rigid, monumental, stylized forms with gold backgrounds. Art produced by Eastern Orthodox Christians living in the Ottoman Empire is often called "post-Byzantine." Certain artistic traditions that originated in the Byzantine Empire, particularly in regard to icon painting and church architecture, are maintained in Greece, Bulgaria, Russia and other Eastern Orthodox countries to the present day. The most prominent feature of this new style was its anti-naturalistic character. Early Byzantine art was also marked by the cultivation of ivory carving; ivory diptychs, often elaborately decorated, were issued as gifts by newly appointed consuls. Silver plates were another important form of luxury art, among the most lavish from this period is the Missorium of Theodosius I. Sarcophagi continued to be produced in great numbers. Classical art was marked by the attempt to create representations that represented reality as closely as possible, Byzantine art seems to have forgone this attempt in favor of a more symbolic approach. The subject matter of monumental Byzantine art was predominantly religious and imperial: the two themes are often combined, partly a result of the pious and autocratic nature of Byzantine society, and of its economic structure: the wealth of the empire was concentrated in the hands ofthe church and the imperial office, which could undertake monumental artistic commissions.







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