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BYZANTIUM AFTER BYZANTIUM COMENIUS MULTILATERAL PROJECT (2008-2010)‏ “Virgil Madgearu” High School (coordinator) Iasi, Romania “Stenio” High School (partner)

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Presentation on theme: "BYZANTIUM AFTER BYZANTIUM COMENIUS MULTILATERAL PROJECT (2008-2010)‏ “Virgil Madgearu” High School (coordinator) Iasi, Romania “Stenio” High School (partner)"— Presentation transcript:

1 BYZANTIUM AFTER BYZANTIUM COMENIUS MULTILATERAL PROJECT (2008-2010)‏ “Virgil Madgearu” High School (coordinator) Iasi, Romania “Stenio” High School (partner) Termini Imerese, Italy “Fevzi Cakmak” High School (partner) Adiyaman, Turkey Realized with financial support of “LLP Comenius Programme"

2 The Byzantine Architecture in Italy

3 The Byzantine style started about 330 A.D. when the Emperor Constantine I transferred the capital of the empire to the city of Byzantium which was renamed New Rome and, after the emperor’s death, Constantinople. At first the Byzantine architecture didn’t differ much from the Roman style but later it came under the influence of the Near East and was enriched with marbles, golds and ivories. Despite these influences the Byzantine architecture was mainly religious and showed itself in the building of churches. It is divided into different periods: the early Byzantine period (from IV to V century) was characterized by both basilican and central plan buildings. The typical Byzantine church has all the elements grouped together around a central square almost ever surmounted by a dome which, differently from the Roman one, was erected on a square rather than a cylindrical basis. The upper corners of the square were bent so that a round shape was obtained upon which the dome was risen up. These bent corners were called “pendentives”. Another typical element is the “pulvinato capital”: a pulvino, that is an element shaped like an overturned truncated pyramid, is placed on the normal capital. This has a decorative function and makes the column look slender as well. The pulvino is decorated with naturalistic, anthropomorphic patterns and marble fretworks. Two main monuments remain from this period: The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia and the Orthodox Baptistery in Ravenna. Introduction

4 The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, regent of the Western Roman Empire on behalf of her son Valentinian the Third dates back to the first half of the fihth century. The building was originally situated next to the exonarthex of the Church of the Holy Cross, now lost. Built in 425-430 A.D. the structure is designed in the shape of a Latin cross, even though, as a whole, it looks like a Greek cross. Outside the building is plain and low, even squat. It is constructed of buff-coloured brick. The only decorative motif is represented by blind small arches and by classical denticulate tympana of the heads. The dome is not visible from the outside because it is contained between vertical brickworks, covered with a pyramid, but it dominates the inner space. Put beside four lunettes and other three lunettes, barrel vaulted dome is at the extremity of the limbs. Inside it is completely covered with precious marbles and bright mosaics, among which blue and the emerald green and multicoloured tesseras catch the eye.

5 The Ortodox Baptistry The Baptistry of Neon, also called the Orthodox Baptistry, was erected by Bishop Ursus at the beginning of the 5 th century and was finished by bishop Neon at the end of the 5 th century. The plan is octagonal and has apses on its four sides. The building is covered by a calotte hidden by a lantern. The exterior is plain, in bricks and is just animated (moved) by the small apses, by the cambered windows and by the pensile small arches separated by pilaster strips. The interior is divided into three parts: the two lower parts have a double order of arches developing along the eight sides of the baptistery; the upper one, on the contrary is made up of the single dome totally covered with mosaics and the decoration is arranged in concentrical areas gravitating around a central unit.

6 In the Justinian age (from 527 to 565) there is an important innovation: the recovery of centrality and the systematic use of architectural elements both vaulted and dome-shaped. This innovation was introduced by the architects Isidorus of Mileto and Anthemius of Tralles and used in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The central plan and the spherical-shaped dome structure of Hagia Sophia will become a model in every area of Byzantine influence. This architectural style was taken to Ravenna from Constantinople. In fact, in 535 the eastern emperor Justinian tried to reunify the ancient Roman Empire and gave his general Belisarius the task to reconquer Italy, which became one of the provinces of the reunified empire under the command of an exarch who resided in Ravenna. Ravenna was the centre where the Roman early Christian art met the Byzantine art. In this town, more than anywhere, architecture and mosaics are strictly interdependent. In Ravenna the main examples are the Basilica of Sant’Apolinnare Nuovo, the Basilica of San Vitale and the Basilica of San’Apollinnare in Classe.

7 Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo Erected in 505 by king Theodoric for the arian cult of his people and dedicated to Christ the Redeemer, the church was built near the palace and was probably used as his palace chapel. It was reconsacrated to the catholic cult under the rule of the Byzantine emperor Justinian the First, under the name “Sanctus Martinus in Coelo Aureo” (Saint Martin in golden Heaven) (VI century), and in 856 it was renamed again when Saint Apollinare's relics were transferred from the Basilica of Sant’Apolinnare in Classe. The entrance of the church is preceded by a marble portico, built in the 16th century. Next to the church, on the right side of the portico, stands a round bell tower dating from the 9th or 10th century. The church is made up of three naves, lacking in quadriportico and preceded by the only narthex which in Ravenna is more properly called “ardica”. Outside it has a cottage façade, built in lateritious. The upper part has a large double lancet marble window in the centre, surmounted by two other tiny openings. The narthex has a sloping roof towards the main columns, which are in white marble and create a remarkable contrast with the building. Next to the church, on the right side of the portico, stands a round bell tower, in bricks too, dating from the 9 Th or 10 th century. The central nave ends with a semicylindrical apse and the round arches, which bound it, are supported by columns provided with pulvino. The Basilica is tessellated with wonderful mosaics belonging to different periods. In fact some mosaics, executed in the time of Theodoric, were replaced by bishop Agnellus in Justinian’s period, when the church became a catholic church.


9 Basilica of St. Vitale St. Vitale’s Basilica was started in 525 and consecrated in 547 by the archbishop Massimiano. The church is different from the typical longitudinal basilicas in Ravenna and the octagonal plan recalls the church of Saint Sergio and Bacco in Constantinople. The external surfaces are bricks only and are lightened by wide windows. The façade of the main prismatic body are reinforced with buttresses. From the geometric central body other parts emerge: the octagonal “tiburio” which hides the dome and the apse, polygonal outside and semicircular inside, is flanked with two small rooms, typical of Byzantine basilicas: on the right the “diacònicon” for the conservation of the consecrated bread and wine, on the left the “pròtesis” for the conservation of the furnishings and the preparation of the liturgical ceremonies. You can enter the basilica through two doors, one in line with the apse, the other slanting, therefore the narthex is inserted in an angle of the perimeter. The internal plan is apparently simple: there is an octagonal ambulatory with two storeys connected by exedrae. The central room is surmounted by a hemispheric dome, joined to an octagonal tambour by pendentives. Above the aisles is a women’s gallery. The building is lightened by perforate pulvinoes on which zoomorphic figures and a Cross are portrayed. The light penetrates through different points and helps to dematerialise the construction, creating a bright effect which was endlessly increasing when the church was covered with mosaics ( partly replaced by frescoes in the 18 th century).

10 Interior of St Vitale's Cathedral

11 Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe The basilica stands where once was the old port, about five kilometres far from Ravenna. It was begun around 534 AD and consecrated in 549 by the first archbishop Massimiano. It is a church with a nave and two side aisles, divided by columns similar to the ones in St. Apollinare Nuovo with acanthus and pulvino decorated capitals. The basilica consists of a raised main body and an apse, polygonal outside and semicircular inside, with two little apse chapels on its sides. The façade is preceded by a narthex and lightened by a three – mullioned window but originally there was a four – sided portico. The jambs and the architrave of the portal are in Greek marble. On the left of the church is the circular bell-tower which is made stable and light by windows first single-light, later with two lights, finally with three lights. The walls of the basilica are bare except the apsidal part, that is faced with mosaics of various ages. In the apsidal basin a large disc contains a blue sky strewn with stars against which, in the interlacement of the arms, a bejewelled Cross with Christ’s face stands out.

12 Interior of St. Apollinare in Classe

13 The iconoclast period (from 726 to 843) is a period of decline, but the central plan dome covering model is consolidated. A renaissance period starts with the Macedonian dynasty ( from 867 to 1057) when the Greek cross plan inscribed in a square became predominant. In the Comneni period (from 1081 to 1185) almost all churches have a Greek cross plan and are enriched by finely scarved marbles, very rich gold background mosaics and grounds decorated with figures. A typical building from this period is San Mark's Cathedral in Venice. It achieves the ideal of an art depending on colour.

14 St. Mark's Basilica St. Mark's Basilica in Venice is the most famous example of Byzantine architecture in Italy, even if it maintains the characteristics of the Venetian art. The building of the basilica began in 1063 under the rule of doge Domenico Contarini and replaced the original church which had been built to bury the remains of the Evangelist Mark, the patron saint of the city. The basilica has a Greek-cross plan with five domes and follows the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. Each of the four arms of the cross is, in turn, divided into a nave and two aisles. The naves are surmounted by hemispherical domes, the aisles are covered by massive barrel vaults and bounded by a row of columns which support a narrow women's gallery. The walls and the pillars are entirely faced, in the lower part, with slabs of polychromatic marbles. The interior is magnificent: the mosaic decoration was started in the 12th century by Byzantine artists who reproduced the typical motifs of traditional iconography. Behind the high altar is exhibited the Gold Ancon, which is part of St. Mark's treasure. The presbytery is separated from the rest of the basilica by an iconostasis, made up of eight red marble pillars and surrounded by statues. Outside there is an arcade covered with a series of small domes which follow, on a smaller scale, the structural logic of the inside. The marble façade dates back to the 13th century. Mosaics and low- relief simported from the East were later added, to increase the magnificence of St. Mark's, which is a sort of museum of the Byzantine sculpture. All the architectonic elements of different origin are inserted in the context with harmonic balance.

15 St. Mark's Basilica

16 The magnificence of Byzantine art of XII century can be seen in Palermo in the apse of the Cathedral of Monreale, in the Palace Chapel, in the Cathedral of Cefalù and in the Church of Martorana.

17 The Cathedral of Cefalù The monuments that date back to the Norman rule in Sicily have a distinctive feature deriving from the fusion of different styles: Norman, Arab and Byzantine. The Cathedral of Cefalù was built by King Roger II as a vow after a dangerous sea-crossing. Its construction was begun in 1131 but the original building project underwent many changes. In front of the building there is a wide, terraced church-square that was used as a churchyard. The façade is flanked by two massive four-story towers with windows with one or two lights and has a galilee in front of its portal. The galilee is divided into three arches (two ogival arches and a round one) supported by columns having capitals of great value. The two towers are different: they both are crenellated but one shows flame- shaped merlons, has a square plan and symbolizes the power of the Church, while the other one shows Ghibelline merlons, has an octagonal plan and symbolizes the temporal power. The interior is based on a Latin cross-plan and is divided into three naves by sixteen columns surmounted by Roman and Byzantine capitals supporting ogival arches of Arab style. The presbytery is higher than the naves. There you can admire two white marble thrones decorated with mosaics, the bishop’s and the royal one. The upper part of the apses is decorated with small cross-arches and sculptured corbels. Originally the central apse had three windows which were later walled up to make the mosaic. The walls and the vaults are covered with magnificent Byzantine mosaics on a gold field with Christ Pantocrator in the interior of the apse.

18 Interior of the Cathedral of Cefalù

19 The Palatine Chapel The Palatine Chapel was built by King Roger the Second in 1132 and consacrated in 1140. It was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. The basilican plan of the Chapel is divided into three naves by granite or cipolin columns. The wooden ceiling of stalactite and lagunar design, carved and engraved by Arabian masters, shows Kufic inscriptions and vivid paintings alien to Christian art. The sunshine penetrates into the Chapel mainly through the small golden central dome. The mosaics on the walls reflect the purest Byzantine manner. The Palatine Chapel is a magnificent example of fusion of a Latin plan basilica and a Byzantine presbytery, and the architectonic framework is well harmonized with decorations.

20 Interior of the Palatine Chapel

21 Martorana Church The Church of Martorana, also called St. Mary of the Admiral, was built in 1143 by the Byzantine Admiral of King Roger the Second, George of Antioch, who sent craftsmen, mosaicists and marble-workers from the East. The church underwent many changes over the centuries and only the bell tower and the main body are from the original building. The church is based on a Greek cross-plan and has a narthex and a courtyard in front of it. The building is decorated just like a Byzantine church, but the ogival arches and the pendentives are of Islamic origin. The central hemispherical dome is erected on a polygonal drum. The top of the dome shows “Christ Pantocrator Blessing from the Throne” surrounded by four Archangels, and the cross- vaults and the walls are entirely adorned with mosaics in the Byzantine style which are among the oldest in Sicily.

22 Martorana Church

23 The cathedral, which is a Latin-cross basilica (120 metres by 40) is oriented towards East as in the Byzantine tradition. The nave and two aisles are divided by eighteen columns, all of granite except the first on the right, which is cipollino. On the columns are some Roman capitals, originating from ancient ruins, and precious “pulvinoes” in Byzantine style, entirely covered with mosaics, which support pointed arches. The ceiling of the central nave is double weathered with uncovered and painted wooden beams, while the ceiling of the presbytery – remade in 1811 after a fire which had destroyed part of the roof – is stalactitic, in Arab style. The floor, completed in the 16 th century, is in mosaic, in white marble extracted from Taormina quarries, with porphyry and granite disc. Monreale Cathedral This great work of architecture was built between 1174 and 1185 by King William the Second of Altavilla and consecrated to Maria S.S. Assunta (Our Lady of Assumption). The prospect has two massive square Towers, a three-mullioned window portico and valuable bronze doors. The main portal, by Bonanno Pisano, presents mosaic decorations and marble sculptures. The minor door, sculpted in 1179 by Barisano da Trani, follows the Byzantine traditions. The decoration of the higher part consists of a delicate interlacement of small blind ogive arches

24 Naves, transept and apses are entirely covered with mosaics on a gold background, executed by local craftsmen of Byzantine school and Venetian mosaicists. All the Cathedral walls in the lower parts, which are not covered with mosaics, are coated with marble slabs with polychromatic encrustations. The Cloister of the Benedictine convent backs on to the south side of the Cathedral. It was built at the end of the 12 th century and is square in plan (47 metres by 47). The 208 coupled columns, grouped in four in the corners, support the capitals and a row of lancet arches. The columns, overlaid with gold and decorated with mosaics (each of them differently from the others), are finely worked with bas- reliefs. The capitals are also adorned with figures, with biblical motifs, birds, animals fights, fanciful figures. The richness of ornamentation shows the refined cosmopolitism of the Norman Sicily artists. Exterior of Monreale

25 Interior and exterior of Monreale Cathedral

26 Many traces of Byzantine architecture can be also found in Calabria,which was under the Byzantine empire until the 13th century. The most important is the Cattolica of Stilo, near Reggio Calabria.

27 The ” Cattolica” of STILO Another jewel of Byzantine architecture is in STILO, in the province of Reggio Calabria. It is the "Cattolica" ( Catholic), a small Byzantine church dating back to the 10th century and reproducing a type of church that is common in Georgia, Armenia and Anatolia. The church maintains the old name deriving from the Greek "Katholikè", which means "universal". It stands on the slopes of Mount Consolino and was an important Byzantine centre for hermits and Basilian monks. It has a square plan with three semicircular apses of equal projection and five little domes, each with a small double- lancet window. The façades of the church are coated with red clay bricks joined each other by mortar. The cylinder - shaped domes are covered with tiles arranged in a rhomboidal way and interrupted, in the centre, by bricks placed saw-tooth, which break up the coldness of the cubic mass below. Originally the domes were coated with lead layers. Two single-lancet windows open in each of the front domes, while only one opens in the back domes. The central dome, of a longer diameter, is situated on a higher level than the perimetric ones and has four little windows with two openings divided by two small unhewn columns. The entrance door is surmounted by a wooden lintel, on which is a round arch with denticulations of fired bricks.

28 The “Cattolica”

29 It was brought to light an icon representing a "Dormitio Virginis" which dates back to the 14th or 15th century. But the best frescos are in the apses. The period of Paleologi (from 1261 to 1453) maintains the Greek cross plan but the exterior ornamental system is enriched by the use of polychromatic fire bricks, bas-reliefs and ceramics. The most important monuments from this period can be found on Mount Athos, in Mistrà and in Salonicco. In conclusion the Byzantine art in the West paved the way for the Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and in the East it deeply influenced the Islamic architecture. On the contrary, in Russia, Romania, Bulgaria and other orthodox countries the Byzantine art lasted longer. The inside is divided into nine equal squares by four light columns, except the hollow of the three apses. The columns come from ancient monuments and have overturned capitals. The shaft of the first column on the right has a cross with a Greek inscription which means: "Lord appeared to us". Of exceptional value are the Byzantine frescoes of various age. The latest restoration work, done in 1981, revealed that five layers of valuable frescos have been superimposed one upon another on the walls of the church

30 Bibliography: Giorgio Cricco – Francesco Paolo Di Teodoro : Itinerario nell’arte. Vol.1 Zanichelli Pierluigi De Vecchi – Elda Cerchiari : I tempi dell’arte.Vol.1 Bompiani. Milano R.Polacco : San Marco. La Basilica d’oro. Milano Vincenzo Consolo – Giuseppe Leone : Cefalù. Bruno Leopardi Editore. Palermo Cyril Mango : Architettura Bizantina.Electa.Milano Charles Diehl :Figure Bizantine. Einaudi Storia dell’arte.Vol.3 Istituto Geografico De Agostini Novara

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