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Byzantine Column

Byzantine Columnscopyright historyofpainters.com

The Byzantine period was tremendously culturally productive, in painting, sculpture, architecture and illuminated manuscripts. Artists emphasized transcendent time and place; the only worldly concern was with how one must behave in order to get into heaven. Thus the figures in Byzantine art tend to "hover" in space without weight and solidness, without inhabiting a three-dimensional space.

With the triumph of Christianity, Byzantine artists aspired to reawaken the divine spirit of holy figures rather than depict their physical qualities. Their luminous paintings captured the spirit of the Bible and helped to popularize Christianity.
Their unique style is a combination of depicting frontal simplicity, sacred images, harmonious unity, together with precision in details. The use of costly materials such as gold, precious stones and ivory indicates the degree of wealth that was common during this period, and attests to the sophistication of the Byzantine Society.

Not until the thirteenth century, in the works of Florentine master Cimabue, is a change perceptible. He looked to nature for inspiration rather than intuition or mysticism. The Christ-child becomes more childish and tender; and a soft inclination of the head of the Madonna shows that she hears the prayers of men and can bring help and gracious forgiveness. The hard, sullen features are animated by softness and charm, by human sentiment; and it is in this sense that Vasari wrote that through Cimabue more love had come into art.

Byzantine style represented early Christian culture and values as well as courtly splendor. The paintings are complex; fraught with religious fervor and symbolism. Most prominently featured are the holy symbols of the Christian faith--Christ, The Apostles, Saints, The Cross, Virgin Mary, Chalice, Keys, The Anchor, Wheat , The Good Shepherd, Animals, Fish, Angels, Birds, Insects and Satan

 





 

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