Byzantine Art Essay

The split between the Western and Eastern empires had influenced a lot of things. They each adopted a separate ruler. The Eastern Roman Empire became the Byzantine Empire, present day Istanbul, which originated in Constantinople. Constantinople was viewed by all as the center of a great Christian empire. The Constantinople had some great achievements. Because Constantinople was a Christian city it had many churches and holy objects. The Byzantine work of art was unique and incredible.

Mosaic, Paintings, architecture, Byzantine, icons, tombstones and churches were all part of Byzantines’ art. Byzantine achievement in Mosaic decorations brought art to a surprising level of monumentality. Mosaic is like small pieces, normally cubic, of stone or glass of different colors, which are used to create a picture or pattern. Mosaics were applied to the domes, and other available surfaces of Byzantine churches in an established of hierarchical order. They were all handmade. The art of mosaic flourish in the empire making it stand out.

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The majority of Byzantine mosaics were destroyed but some survived. Buildings like Hagia Sophia were embellished with mosaics during the Emperor Justinian. If the purpose of classical art was the glorification of man, the purpose of Byzantine art was the glorification of God, and of His Son, Jesus. Another Byzantine work of art was the religious Icons. Icon creates admiration in worship and provides as an existential link to God. It was used as an object or veneration in Eastern Orthodox Church.

Characterized by vivid colors and often gold colored backgrounds, everything shown in it would be symbolic. There were many arguments within the Eastern Orthodox Church because some thought of using icons was appropriate and some did not. Those who did not believe were called Iconoclasts. The architecture of the Byzantine Empire was based on the great inheritance of Roman formal and technical achievements. The most impressive achievement of Byzantine architecture is the Hagia Sophia, which was built as a church. This changed the history of architecture.

It had walls of polish marble, greatly designed with mosaics too. It was the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years. It was constructed in a short period of time, five years, during the time when Justinian was in power. It later became a mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Looking back at art, mosaic, architecture, paintings and much more, I realized the significance of Byzantine Empire and the influences it had. Till today people recognize and respect art of Byzantine because it is precious.

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