November 27, 2021
The center of the artistic life of the Byzantine Empire was Constantinople, where Byzantine aesthetic principles were formulated. Eastern and Greco-Roman traditions were mixed with the spirit of Christianity, according to which the emperor was the earthly representative of God. Art had to display the divine law. The development of Byzantine art is characterized by great ups and downs. It lived its heyday in the 6th century.
Its greatest value, built in the sixth century, is Hagia Sophia, the Church of the Holy Wisdom. Its architects perfected the usual forms of domed buildings in the East. Opposite the long-nave basilica in the west, long-nave domed churches with a central layout were erected. Unlike the closed domed spaces in Rome, the construction of suspended domed space-locking structures was solved. A great expression of ecclesiastical power was the huge, domed structure supported by pillars in four places, joined by a space covered with a half-dome. These were again enlarged by smaller half-domes. The four-poster altars, embossed pulpits, the oriental splendor of the gold-backed mosaic decoration of the dome, and the colorful cladding of the floor make it a building of Byzantine imperial power and divine wisdom.
In the time of Justinian I, many churches were also built in Ravenna, the main Italian seat of Byzantine power. The most famous of these is the church of San Vitale, an octagonal building. There are two well-lit mosaics on either side of the altar. One depicts the Empress Theodora and her entourage as she presents a golden goblet to the temple, and on the other side Justinian I presents her gift, a golden bowl. Under the abundant folds of clothing, the shape of the body completely disappears. The ground around the figures is replaced by a solid background.
Later, the isosceles Greek cross-shaped domed church became commonplace. The windows cut on the dome provided natural light. The buildings are narrower and taller. The external spatial effect has also become important. The walls are more articulated, and the building material is also more varied: brick, stone, mortar and all this combined so that the facade is as colorful as possible. A 11–12. Built in the 16th century, the Church of St. Mark in Venice combines the finest achievements of Byzantine and Western art.
The style reaches Russia in the 11th and 12th centuries, and an independent style is created, characterized by a square floor plan, a sloping roof and a dome. The Byzantine-style work of the Russian Renaissance is Vasily Blazenny's Cathedral. There is a church with a similar spirit in Pokrov and Fili.
The statues were opposed by Christianity, but opinions were divided on the painted image. Some said the picture was very useful because it reminded believers of what they had learned in the church. Pope Gregory argued that believers could not read and write and that the image was a suitable means of teaching. “As for writing for those who can read, the same painting for uneducated observers.
The ban on icon painting at the time of the destruction reinforced the Eastern influence. When this ban was lifted, the figures remained stylized. The painted scenes are symmetrical, the background is gilded, and the figures are psychologically deepened.
The frescoes of the Svetla Sophia Temple in Ohrid, built in the middle of the 11th century, have also been preserved in good condition. Of particular note are the friezes of the north and south walls, where the extended-winged, kneeling angels are seen as they worship the Virgin Mary holding the little Jesus with strict solemnity. The Ohrid frescoes are symbolic, the figures stylized, disproportionate, and gloomy. The dark toned colors emphasize the persons, the background is flat and abstract.
The St. Pantale of Nerez