Presentation on theme: "Unit Six: The Decline of Rome The World of Byzantium And therefore I have sailed the seas and come / To the holy city of Byzantium. William Butler Yeats,"— Presentation transcript:
Unit Six: The Decline of Rome The World of Byzantium And therefore I have sailed the seas and come / To the holy city of Byzantium. William Butler Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium”
Catacombs date from the Period of Persecution 1 - 313 Served as underground burial sites for Christians as well as chapels for services and hiding places for fugitives loculi individual burial chambers cubicula chambers serving as chapels or meeting rooms
Christ as the Good Shepherd From a catacomb cubiculum, Christ is in the center
Praying female figure with her arms outstretched from a catacomb cubiculum. The figure of the teacher (or philosopher) on the right, with students, may represent Christ. The figure on the left is a mother with child on her lap, perhaps representing the Virgin Mary with infant Christ.
Christ as Apollo (Sol Invictus, Helios) 350 Many Early images of Christ are modeled after Apollo, although the grape vine is a symbol of Dionysus. It represents fertility, resurrection and the creative power of God. Early images of Christ emphasize his divinity and his teaching - he is also portrayed as a magician! though his critics tried to portray him as a common sorcerer 2 common attributes he is shown with are a: - magic wand - his reputation as a sorcerer - and a scroll - his reputation as teacher - scenes of the crucifixion aren't shown in early christian art - Scenes are selected for their importance in the early church
The Good Shepherd "Christ is the Lamb as well as the Good Shepherd"
Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus 359 3'10" x 8' marble Sarcophagi, such as this one, of Roman Christians continue the long tradition of sculptural sarcophagi used by wealthy Romans. Again, the scenes depicted are ones that very early in the Christian era are established as some of the most important iconographic scenes to the faith. They are symbolic of the virtues considered to be important to members of the church.
Old St. Peter's Begun 333, reconstruction drawing
Interior of Santa Sabina, another Early Christian, timber roofed, basilica. Rome, 5th century.
Early Byzantine Art and Architecture RAVENNA The city of Ravenna is like a collection of great examples of early Byzantine art and architecture. In the early fifth century the Emperor Honorius moved the western Roman capitol to Ravenna, on the east coast of Italy, south of Venice. Ravenna passed through the hands of a few "barbarian" kings (Goths) before it was recaptured by one of Justinian's generals in 539 It remained a powerful symbol of the presence of Justinian in Italy and the Western Empire as Rome was continually under attack
Exterior MAUSOLEUM OF GALLA PLACIDIA Ravenna c. 425
Saint Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. Nave. The procession of martyrs. What was originally a courtly procession leading to Christ was replaced by a file of twenty-six martyrs with Saint Martin. This long file of solumn white figures along the nave of the church is effective overall, with its emphasis on mass movement rather than individual expression.
Saint Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. Nave. Procession of saints.
Theodoric's Palace. Adoration of Magi. End 6th c. A.D. The group of Magi with Gallic caps is particularly effective, with its rich colors and sense of the movement, and yet each Magus is individuated. Unfortunately, later restorations undercut any reliable historic analysis.
Saint Apollinare Nuovo. Apostles and Christ's ministry. Before 526 A.D. The top of the two rows of mosaics along the nave and above and between the windows were made when the church was first built, sometime before 526, when it was Arian Christian (under the Ostrogothic kings) and Ravenna had not yet been reincorporated into the Eastern Roman Empire by the armies of Justinian.
San Apollinare Nuovo basilica, Ravenna. The enthroned Christ flanked by angels, 556 A.D. When in 540 the East Roman Exarchs took over Ravenna, they reconsecrated the Arian churches. San Apollinare was reconsecrated in 556 and was given a new bishop (Archbishop Agnellus, 556-569). At that time the lower row of mosacs along the nave were removed or altered. Originally the bottom row showed a long courtly procession that lead from the Ostrogothic royal palace to Christ and Mary seated in majesty on opposite sides of the nave. Here Christ is seated on this throne. Because Agnellus decided not to change this portion of the mosaic, Christ manifests Arian Christian naturalism.
San Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. A scene from Christ's life: Christ, flanked by his courtly angelic advisors, pronounces the last judgement, separating the sheep from the goats. This top row of mosaics shows twenty-six scenes from Christ's life. They are small rectangles which are hard to see if you are standing in the nave, which may be why they were not updated. The Ostrogothic mosaics were more inclined to treat Christ naturalistically and accomodate him within a Roman imperial framework.
San Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. Top zone nave mosaic showing Christ before Pilate. This series of mosaics representing the life of Christ avoids the crucifixion because in the Arian Christian tradition the emphasis was on the human Christ living in the context of the Empire..
San Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. Mosaic detail of Saint Andrew and fisherman, before 526 A.D. Also from the top row, but reflects more of the traditional lively narrative than the previous mosaic. Here a colorful simple design with a sober rendering of masses.
San Vitale Plan Centralized plan - two concentric octagons - the centralized plan is an eastern style - complex interior space - 8 piers support the dome - w/ clerestory windows The narthex, which was added later is at peculiar angle for an unexplained reason - perhaps to aligned it with the street
St. Vitale - view from nave into the apse The barrel vault before the apse provides axial focus on the apse and altar
CHARACTERISTICS of BYZANTINE ART 1.Flattened, symbolic, (heavenly) space (gold backgrounds common) Shapes and figures show the continuing trend toward shallow space 2.Details are described by line, not light and shade 3.Elongated proportions 4.Dematerialized bodies with strong emphasis on the eyes 5.Ornate haloes fr. Persia - designating descent from the Sun 6.Narrative is created by flat, symbolic shapes, lined up
Apse Vault mosaic Lamb in starry background, supported by 4 angels - they stand on globes - four seasons? Planets and zodiac signs are not present - exclusion of Roman divinities and symbols A re-description of the cosmos in Christian terms
View of the top of the vault - lamb and 4 angels (below) Mosaics - individual pieces are tessarae Made of cut glass, very rich and reflective - it seems to actually contain and emanate light - mosaic gave artists a new, expanded medium with which to communicate the mysticism of Christianity - materials include: mother of pearl, gold and silver foil laminated
View of Apse Mosaics - you can see the mosaic with Justinian between the two columns
Theodora She is shown about to enter the Sanctuary (fountain -> atrium) - indicating that her rank is not equal to that of her husband - the Three Magi on the hem of her cloak make a reference to her association with the Virgin Mary
Detail of Theodora Originally a north African actress, Theodora was considered no better than a prostitute, and yet she was apparently the real brains and power behind the imperial throne. Mother of pearl is used here as tesserae. The goal of hieratic decorative pattern overcomes naturalism. While the imperial mosaics in Ravenna certainly reflect the influence of Constantinople, if one compares them with contemporary work in Hagia Sophia or Salonica, it is evident that they are not merely an expression of courtly taste, but an independent local tradition.
San Vitale, Ravenna. General view of a group of mosaics. The mosaics from this church tend to focus on Biblical themes.
A detail from this group shows Moses receiving the law on Mt. Sinai. The use of color here is impressionistic rather than naturalistic, but is effective. There is a mix of naturalistic and such hieratic elements as the addition of a "Moses" label to echo the naturally represented content in symbolic form. The ambivalence of so much of the art in 6th-century Ravenna suggests it is sub-Roman and transitional rather than truly feudal.
San Vitale, Ravenna. Apse mosaic of the theophany. Christ as cosmocrator sits on the sphere of the cosmos. Saints, including Saint Vitalis and Archbishop Ecclesius and a donor are being welcomed into the celestial garden of Paradise. Beneath flow the four rivers of Paradise, which become part of standard iconography.
St. Apollinaire 504 - 549 Classe, Ravenna Classe is port city near Ravenna Typical Early Christian basilica - lacking a transept - the Campanile is a medieval addition The exterior is a very plain shell, concealing the rich interior - Unlike the form of classical temples which emphasizes the exterior - Why? internal, congregational worship - humility/internal meditation
Hagia Sophia 532 - 537 Dedicated to St. Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom Commissioned by Justinian In 1453 the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople and made the church a mosque (hence the 4 minarets) - now a museum
Hagia Sophia is a unique design combining the basilica and the centralized plan Architects of the West tended to stick with the basilica type of plan - while Eastern architects continued to develop the centralized plan Hagia Sophia introduces a new architectural structure - The pendentive which provides a method for putting a round dome on a rectangular building - the pendentives transfer the weight to the piers, not to the walls