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- PREHISTORY AND THE FIRST CIVILIZATION - GREECE - ROMAN EMPIRE - EARLY CHRISTIANITY AND BYZANTIUM - ISLAM - RENAISSANCE - BAROQUE - GOTHIC - EARLY MEDIEVAL AND ROMANESQUE

Venus of Willendorf

28,000-25,000 BCE, Willendorf Austria, Paleolithic Limestone
one of the oldest sculptures known, anatomical exaggeration and represents women's fertility.

Two Bison

15,000-10,000 BCE, paleolithic, reliefs in the cave of Le Tuc' d'Audoubert, Clay
Animals were far more common that humans in Old Stone Age art. Always represented in profile (only view completely informative).

mural painting

22,000 BCE, spotted horses and negative hand imprints.22,000 BCE Hands = signatures, paleolithic painting.

Hall of the Bulls

15,000-13,000 BCE, Paleolithic
Lascaux, France, no ground line or indication of place, concerned only with representing the animals.

wounded man, and disemboweled bison

15,000-13,000 BCE, Paleolithic
Wall painting in Lascaux, France, represent a hunting scene, first example of narrative art ever discovered.

Deer hunt

5750 BCE, NeolithicCatal Hoyuk, Turkey
depicts human figures as a composite frontal and profile views.

Human Figure

6750-6250 BCE, Neolithic, Plaster
painted and inlaid with cowrie shell and bitumen
Ain Ghazal, Jordan, marks the beginning of monumental sculpture in the history of art.

Stonehenge

2550-1600 BCE, Neolithic, Salisbury Plain, England earliest example of monumental architecture, circle of trilithons probably functioned as an astronomical observatory or solar calendar.

Ziggurat

2100 BCE, Sumerian, Ur, Iraq
best preserved in Mesopotamia, has three ramp-like stairways of a hundred steps each that originally ended at a gateway to a brick temple.

Warka Vase

3200-3000 BCE, Sumerian, AlabasterFrom Uruk,
Oldest known example of Sumerian narrative art, vase's reliefs divided in three bands, depicts a religious festival in honor to Inanna, goddess of love and war.

Statuettes from the Square Temple at Eshnunna

2700 BCE, Sumerian
Gypsum inlaid with shell and black limestone
Oversized eyes symbolize perpetual wakefulness of the worshipers offering prayers to the gods, the beakers the figures hold were used to pour libations in honor of the gods.

Standard of Ur

2600 BCE, Sumerian, wood inlaid with shell, lapis lazuli, and red limestone.
War side, and peace side, mosaic-like technique to tell the story of victory in battle in three registers, size varies with importance.

Head of an Akkadian ruler

2250-2200 BCE, Akkadian, Copper
first known life-size hollow cast captures the distinctive portrait features of ruler while displaying a sense of abstract patter, head was vandalized.

Vistory stele of Naram-Sin

2254-2218 BCE, Akkadian, Pink sandstone
Commemorates the conquest of the Lullubi, shows Naram-Sin leading his army against the enemy, rejects the traditional register format.

Stele with law code of Hammurabi

1780 BCE, Akkadian, Basalt
Records Hammurabi's comprehensive law code, first examples of foreshortening.

Lamassu

720-705 BCE, Assyrian, Limestone
Monsters guarding Assyrian palaces, has five legs, two from the front and 4 in profile.

Ashurbanipal hunting lions

645-640 BCE, Assyrian, Gypsum
Wall of the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, narrative stone relief; hunting lions was regarded as a manly virtue just like victory in warfare.

Ishtar Gate

575 BCE, Assyrian, Glazed brick
Depicts Marduk's dragon and Adad's bull, gate to the city of Babylon

Persepolis

521-465 BCE, Achaemenid Persian, Persian capital Contained an impressive royal audience call with 36 columns. The terraces were decorated with reliefs of inferior nations bringing tributes to the king.

Palette of King Narmer

3000-2920 BCE, Predynastic/Early Dynastic, Slate
Commemorates the unification of upper and lower Egypt, served to apply makeup, Narmer defeats an enemy on one side and on the other observes the decapitated foe.

Typical Mastaba tomb

had an underground burial chamber and rooms to house a portrait statue and offerings to the deceit. interior walls often decorated with scenes of daily life.

Stepped Pyramid

Imhotep, 2630-2611 BCE, Predynastic/Early Dynastic
First pyramid, has the form of stacked mastabas, centerpiece of funerary complex glorifying Djoser.

Great Pyramids

Menkaure: 2490-2472 BCE, Khafre: 2520-2494 BCE, Khufu: 2551-2528, Predynastic/Early Dynastic
Took the shape of the Ben-ben emblem of the sun, Re, corners point to cardinal points, sun's rays are ramp to ascend to the heavens.

Great Sphinx

2520-2494 BCE, Predynastic/Early Dynastic, Sandstone
Largest statue in the Near East, associated with Re, lion's body and pharaoh's head.

Khafre

2520-2494 BCE, Predynastic/Early Dynastic, Diorite
Depicts Khafre as a divine ruler with an idealized body. Portrays Khafre rigidly with an effect of eternal stillness (timelessness of afterlife).

Menkaure and Khamerernebty

2490-2472 BCE, Predynastic/Early Dynastic,Graywacke
Gestures signify that they are married, Figures are still attached to the stone block they were carved from. Suggests timeless nature.

Ti watching a hippopotamus hunt

2450-2350 BCE, Predynastic/Early Dynastic, Painted limestone
Represents triumph over evil via hunting. Ti appears distant from the hunters and his high rank is portrayed by his size.

Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut

1473-1458 BCE, The New Kingdom
Funerary temple for the first great female monarch in history, was originally decorated with painted reliefs.

Temple of Ramses II

1290-1224 BCE, The New Kingdom, Sandstone
Colossal rock-cut statues that predominate the facade of a mortuary temple. King is depicted as Osiris, god of the dead and giver of eternal life.

Temple of Amen-Re

15th century BCE, The New Kingdom
Temple contains and artificial lake symbolizing the Egyptian creation myth, and a pylon temple for religious rituals.

Akhenaton

1353-1335 BCE, The New Kingdom, Sandstone
Reaction against tradition, androgynous image is an attempt to depict the pharaoh as Aton, a sexless sun disk.

Nefertiti

1353-1335 BCE, Thutmose, The New Kingdom, Painted limestone
Akhenaton's wife is portrayed elegantly and beautifully, her expression is that of thinking and she has a long neck. It is an unfinished portrait.

Innermost Coffin of Tutankhamen

1323 BCE, The New Kingdom, Gold with inlay of enamel and semiprecious stones
Mummy encased most innerly is the most costly, portrays pharaoh as Osiris.

Death mask of Tutankhamen

1323 BCE, The New Kingdom, Gold with inlay of semiprecious stones
Mask that covered pharaoh's mummy depicts grandeur and richness. Portrait of the king dressed in his official royal clothing, including a headdress and false beard.

Greece

...

Figurine of a Woman

2500-2300 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Cycladic, Marble
Nude woman, meant for a grave, female body portrayed with large triangles.

Palace at Knossos

1700-1400 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Minoan
Largest palace on Crete, home of King Minos, rooms surround a court, gave way to the myth of the Minotaur in the labyrinth.

Stairwell in palace at Knossos

1700-1400 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Minoan
Stairwell, columns decrease in width from top to bottom

Bull-Leaping

1450-1400 BCE, prehistoric Aegan/Minoan, Fresco
Human figures with pinched waists and stylized shapes, skin color varies with sex, depicts Minoan ceremony of bull-leaping.

Spring Fresco

1650 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Minoan, Fresco
Wet fresco, first known pure landscape, vivid colors, undulating lines.

Octopus Jar

1500 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Minoan
Octopus united to the shape of the vase, tentacles fill the curving spaces.

Snake Godess

1600 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Minoan, Faience
May represent a priestess, or a goddess, snakes and leopard feline imply that she is powerful.

Citadel at Tiryns

1400-1200 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Mycenaean
The City of Great walls, Cyclopean masonry, roughly cut stone blocks

Lion Gate

1300-1250 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Mycenaean, Limestone
Largest sculpture of the time, confronting lions, Mycenae's main gate, two monoliths and lintel.

Treasure Atreus

1300-1250 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Mycenaean
Burial chamber covered by a pile of soil, entered through a doorway.

Interior of the Tholos

1300-1250 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Mycenaean
composed of corbeled courses of stone blocks laid on a circula base. Largest dome in ancient world.

Funerary Mask

1600-1500 BCE, Prehistoric Aegan/Mycenaean, Beaten gold
Mask comes from a royal shaft grave, not known who it represented.

Geometric Krater

740 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic
Abstract ornaments, funerary krater, mourning scene and procession in honor of the dead.

Lady Auxerre

650-625 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic,Limestone
Kore, presents the Daedalic style of, triangular face and hair.

Kouros

600 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic, Marble
Kouros, Egyptian pose, nude and carved in the round.

Kroisos

530 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic, Marble
Kouros, increased naturalism, rounded modeling of face, torso, arms and legs, figure is smiling indicating he is alive.

Peplos Kore

530 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic, Marble
Clothed woman, smiling, offering in Athena's Acropolis, perhaps represents Athena.

Temple of Hera

550 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic
Peristyle, Doric temple, cigar shaped columns, pancake-like capitals, roof is missing.

West pediment of the Temple of Artemis

600-580 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic, Limestone
Medusa and two panthers are temple guardians, scenes from the Trojan War and the battle of gods and giants.

Achilles and Ajax playing a dice game

540-530 BCE
Greek/Geometric and Archaic
Black-figure painting, portrays heroes playing a dice game, dramatic tension, amphora, both fully armed

Herakles wrestling Antaios

Euphronios, 510 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic
Red-figure krater, rejected composite view and attempted a single viewpoint, battle between Greek hero and a giant.

Three Revelers

Euthymides, 510 BCE, Greek/Geometric and Archaic
Red-figure amphora, represents human body in unusual positions, fore shortened three-quarter view

Statues from the west pediment of the Temple of Aphaia

500-490 BCE,Greek/Geometric and Archaic,Marble
Pediment uses range of body postures, Athena is larger than the rest.

Dying warrior from West pediment

500-490 BCE,Greek/Geometric and Archaic,Marble
Archaic features, fallen warrior with a smile, and rigid torso.

Dying warrior from East pediment

490-480 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble
Natural posture, self-consciousness, pain, does not face viewer.

Kritios Boy

480 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble
First statue with contrapposto, no smile, from the Acropolis.

Warrior from Riace

460-450 BCE, Greek/Classical, Bronze
Hollow-cast statue, inlaid eyes, silver teeth and eyelashes, copper lips and nipples, contrapposto is pronounced, statue originally had a shield, spear and helmet.

Diskobolos

Myron, 450 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble (original bronze)
Discus thrower, body and limbs form two intersecting arcs.

Doryphoros

Polykleitos, 450-440 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble (bronze original)
Spear bearer, human movement, harmonic proportions, system of cross balance.

Parthenon

Iktinos and Kallikrates, 447-438 BCE, Greek/Classical
Harmonic proportions, temple for Athena, ratio of x=2y+1

Lapith versus centaur

447-438 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble
Centauromachy metope, refers to Greek defeat of the Persians, distinguishes the centaur from the corpse.

Helos and his horses

438-432 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble
Depicts birth of athena, horses of Helios rise from the floor (sun rising at dawn).

Three goddesses

438-432 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble
Hestia, Dione, and Aphrodite, garments are thin and heavy and reveal body forms.

Panathenaic Festival procession frieze

447-438 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble
Ionic frieze of the Parthenon, festival of citizens on horseback, celebrates mortal Athenians and Athena.

Erechteion

421-405 BCE, Greek/Classical, Multiple shrine, honored Athena but included other gods, Erechteus early king of Athens, decorative details.

Temple of Athena Nike

Kallikrates, 427-424 BCE, Greek/Classical
Temple at the entrance to the Acropolis, Ionic architecture, celebrates Athena's victoriousness, one of the friezes portrays the Persian defeat at Marathon.

Nike adjusting her sandal

410 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble
Garments are almost transparent, image of Victory with wings, drapery folds in linear patterns.

Grave stele of hegeso

400 BCE, Greek/Classical, Marble
Tombstone for the daughter of Proxenos, she looks at a piece of jewelry that a servant girl holds. Daily life moment, the inscriptions reveals that she died.

Warrior taking leave of his wife

Achilles Painter, 440 BCE, Greek/Classical
White-ground lekythos, eyes drawn in profile, set on the interior of a home.

Aphrodite of Knidos

Praxiteles, 350-340 BCE, Greek/Late Classical, Marble
First nude statue of a goddess, sensuous pose, Aphrodite about to take a bath.

Hermes and the infant Dionysios

Praxiteles, 438-432 BCE, Greek/Late Classical, Marble
Sensuous pose, god looks into space, waves grapes to the infant wine god.

Apoxyomenos

Lysippos, 330 BCE, Greek/Late Classical, Marble (bronze original)
Scraper, canon proportions, nervous energy, should be seen from different angles

Battle of Issus

Philoxenos of Eretria, 310 BCE, Greek/Late Classical
Tessera mosaic
Foreshortening, modeling in color, reflections and shadows. Psychological intensity, confrontation between Alexander and Darius.

Theater at Epidauros

Polykleitos, 350 BCE, Greek/Late Classical
Theater on a hillside, finest in Greece, accommodated 12,000 spectators.

Altar of Zeus

175 BCE, Greek/Late Classical
Gigantomachy frieze is about 400 feet long, battle alluded to the victory of King Attalos I over the Gauls of Asia Minor.

Athena battling Alkyoneos

175 BCE, Greek/Late Classical, Marble
Gigantomachy, emotional intensity, violent movement, swirling draperies, suffering.

Dying Gaul

Epigonos, 230-220 BCE, Greek/Late Classical, Marble
Depicts defeat of the Gauls, barbarians with bushy hair, mustaches, neck bands, noble foes, portrays pain

Nike of Samothrace

190 BCE, Greek/Late Classical, Marble
Victory will crown a victor at sea, her wings beat, and the wind blows her drapery, statue was placed on a fountain.

Venus de Milo

Alexandros of Antioch-on-the-Meander
150-125 BCE, Greek/Hellenistic, Marble
Displays eroticism, Aphrodite is sexual, slipping garment.

Old Market Woman

150-110 BCE, Greek/Hellenistic, Marble
Realistic, old woman bringing chickens and a basket of fruits and vegetables to sell in a market

Laocoon and his sons

Athanadoros Hagesandros and Polydoros of Rhodes, Early first century CE, Greek/Hellenistic, Marble
Revived in Rome, sea serpents attacking Laocoon as portayed in the Aeneid

Roman Empire

...

Apulu (Apollo)

510-500 BCE, Etruscan, Painted terracota
Part of a group portraying the Ceryneian hind, Etruscan charging motion and arm gestures, and the fact that the statue was placed on a roof.

Sarcophagus with reclining couple

520 BCE, Etruscan, Painted terracota
Focus on the couple having dinner's faces and gestures, sarcophagus.

Interior of the Tom of the REliefs

Third century BCE, Etruscan, Painted terracota
Located in Cerveteri necropolis it had scores of tumuli with underground burial chambers. The tombs resembled houses and the interior was painted with stucco reliefs evoking a domestic context.

Leopards, banqueters and musicians

480-470 BCE, Etruscan Tomb of the Leopards Mural painting.
Tarquinian tomb, banqueting couples, servants, and musicians celebrate the joys of the good life. Men have dark skin, and women fair skin

Capitoline Wolf

500-480 BCE, Etruscan, Bronze
She-wolf nurses the infants Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, the animal has a psychic intensity.

Aule Metele (Arringatore)

Early first century BCE, Etruscan, Bronze
Statue of an orator who wears the short toga and high boots of a Roman magistrate, republican portrait style

Temple of Fortuna Verilis

75 BCE, Roman/Republic
Combines Etruscan plan and Greek elevation, pseudoperipteral temple with Ionic order, but staircase and freestanding columns only at the front.

Head of Roman Partrician

75-50 BCE, Roman/Republic, Marble
Veristic portrait of an old man from a distinguished family. Demonstrates the faith and wisdom of the elderly.

Roman Forum

Various Architects, Second century BCE, Roman/Pompeii
Center of Roman Civic life, colonnades fram a rectangular plaza, basilica is in the southwestern corner, Pompeii's law court

Amphitheater at Pompeii

70 BCE, Roman/Pompeii, Concrete
Earliest known amphitheater, elliptical cavea allowed concrete. The place were gladiatorial combats and wild animal hunts took place.

Atrium of the House of the Vetti

62-79 CE, Roman/Pompeii
Roman townhouse with a central atrium and an impluvium to collect rainwater. A peristyle garden is added at the rear.

First Style wall painting at Samnite House

Late second century BCE, Roman/Pompeii/Vesuvius
Wall fainting
First style mural, imitates marble panels using painted stucco relief. Greek style in origin.

Dionysiac mystery frieze

60-50 BCE, Roman/Pompeii, Frieze
Second Style painting, imaginary three-dimensional world on the wall of a Roman house. Represents the initiation rites of a mysterious religion of Dionysos.

Second Style wall painting at Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor

50-40 BCE, Roman/Pompeii/Vesuvius, Wall painting
Second style painting that opened up the walls with vistas of towns, temples, and colonnaded courtyards, convincing illusionism, use of linear perspectiv

Gardescape

30-20 BCE, Roman/Pompeii/Vesuvius, Wall painting
Second Style painting in Livia's villa, used atmospheric perspective, portrayal of a garden.

Third Style wall painting at Villa of Agrippa

Postumus, 10 BCE, Roman/Pompeii/Vesuvius
Wall painting
Third style painting decorated with linear fantasies on a monochromatic background. A minuscule landscape is at the center of a solid black wall.

Fourth Style wall painting at Ixion Room

70-79 CE, Roman/Pompeii, Wall painting
Crowded with confused compositions and a mixture of architectural vistas, framed panel paintings, and motifs included in the First and Third Styles

Still life with peaches

62-79 CE, Roman/Pompeii/Vesuvius, Wall painting
Fourth style painting, reflects Roman interest in illusionism, attentive light and shadow on different shapes and textures.

Portrait of Augustus as general

20 BCE, Roman/Early Empire, Marble
Idealized portrait of Augustus modeled after Classical Greek statues, depicted as a timeless son of a god, the portrait shows him in armor.

Ara Pacis Augustae

13-9 BCE, Roman/Early Empire, Marble
Augustus presented his new orders as a Golden Age, this celebrates the emperor's establishment of peace.

Procession of the imperial family

13-9 BCE, Roman/Early Empire, Marble
Detail of the Ara Pacis Augustae, inspired by the Panathenaic procession frieze of the Parthenon, depicts individuals, including children, to promote marriage and childbearing.

Pont-du-Gard

16 BCE, Roman/Early Empire
Aqueduct bridge that brought water from the mountain spring to Nimes. Consists of three rows of arches, the uppermost level arches are smaller than the middle and lower level arches.

Colosseum

70-80 CE
Roman/Early Empire
Consists of a complex system of concrete barrel vaults, held 50000 spectators and is the world's largest amphitheater. The exterior has Tuscan Doric at the lower level, Ionic, and Corinthian columns at the top.

Portrait bust of a Flavian woman

90 CE
Roman/Early Empire
Marble
Elegant hair made by drilling deep holes, drill-work created a dense mass of light and shadow.

Arch of Titus

81 CE
Roman/Early Empire
Triumphal arch to honor an emperor who became a god after his death. Victories fill the spandrels and the passageway.

Spoils of Jerusalem

81 CE
Roman/Early Empire
Marble
Relief panel in the passageway of the Arch of Tits. Commemorates the emperor's greatest achievement, the conquest of Judaea. Roman soldiers carry the spoils taken from the jewish temple in Jerusalem.

Triumph of Titus

81 CE, Roman/Early Empire, Marble
Victory accompanies Titus in his triumphal chariot, personifications of honor and valor. First known instance of human and divine figures together in a roman historical relief.

Forum of Trajan

Apollodorus of Damascus, 112 CE, Roman/High Empire
Trajan built Rome's largest forum with the spoils from two wars in Dacia. Featured: triumphal gateway, statutes of Dacian captives, an equestrian statute of the emperor and a basilica with clerestory light.

Column of Trajan

112 CE, Roman/High Empire, marble
Tells the story of the Dacian wars in 150 episodes. All aspects of the campaigns are included from fierce battles to solemn sacrifices and road and fort construction.

Markets of Trajan

Apollodorus of Damascus, 100-112 CE, Roman/High Empire.
Resembles a modern shopping mall, housed two floors of shops, upper part lit by skylight, concrete groin vaults cover the central space.

Pantheon

118-125 CE, Roman/High Empire
Hadrian's "temple of all gods", stood at one narrow end of the enclosure.

Interior of the Pantheon

118-125 CE, Roman/High Empire
The coffered dome is 142 feet in diameter and in height. The light entering through its oculus forms a circular beam that moves across the doe as the sun moves across the sky.

Equestrian statute of Marcus Aurelius

175 CE, Bronze, Roman/High Empire
Marcus Aurelius stretches out his arms in a gesture of clemency, statue coveys his power.

Mummy portrait of a man

160-170 CE, Encaustic on wood, Roman/High Empire.
Painted portraits replaced the traditional masks. Painted in encaustic (color mixed with hot wax).

Baths of Caracalla

212-216 CE, Roman/Late Empire
Covered almost of almost 50 acres, and included landscaped gardens. Contained groin vaults, mosaic floors, marble-faced walls and colossal statuary.

Portrait of Caracalla

211-217 CE, Roman/Late Empire, Marble
Suspicious personality is captured in this portrait, brow is knotted and he abruptly turns his head over his shoulder, ad if he suspects danger from behind.

Portrait bust of Trajan Decius

249-251 CE, Roman/Late Empire, Marble
A short-lived "soldier emperor" depicts an older man with a sad expression. The eyes glance away nervously, reflecting anxiety of an insecure ruler.

Sarcophagus with battle of Romans and barbarians

250-260 CE, Roman/Late Empire, Marble
Chaotic scene of battle between the ROmans and barbarians decorates the front of this usually large sarcophagus. The emotive figures are pilled up in an emphatic rejection of classical perspective.

The four tetrarchs

305 CE, Roman/Late Empire, Porphyry
Diocletian established the tetrarchy to bring order to the roman world. The four rulers appear together not as individual but as identical partners in power.

Portrait of Constantine

315-330 CE, Roman/Late Empire, Marble
Revives the Augustan image of an eternally youthful ruler. This colossal head is one of several fragments of an enthroned Jupiter-like statue of an emperor holding the orb of world power.

Arch of Constantine

312-315 CE, Roman/Late Empire
Decoration from monuments of Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. Sculptor recut the heads of the earliest emperors with Constantin's features.

Distribution of largess

312-315 CE, Roman/Late Empire, Marble
Less narrative of action, the rigid formality reflects the new values that would come to dominate medieval light.

EARLY CHRISTIANITY AND BYZANTIUM

.

The Good Shepherd

4th century, Early Christian Art, painted ceiling
Mixed old and new testament themes, Jonah was a popular subject because he was swallowed by a sea monster and emerged safely after three days, prefiguring Christ resurrection.

Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus

359, Early Christian Art, Marble
The wealthiest christians favored elaborately decorated sarcophagi. Biblical episodes from Adam and Eve to Christ before pilate appear in ten niches two rows.

Interior of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo

504, Early Christian Art
Early Christian basilican churches were timber roofed and illuminated by clerestory window. The columns of the nave produced steady rhythm that focused all attention on the apse, which framed the altar.

Interior of Santa Constanza

337-351, Early Christian Art
Has antecedents in the domed structures of the Romans, but has an ambulatory framed by 12 pairs of columns.

Christ as the good shepherd

425, Early Christian art, Mosaic
Jesus sits among his flock, haloed and robed in gold and purple. The landscape and the figures, with their cast shadows, are the work of a mosaicist still deeply rooted in naturalistic classical tradition.

Miracle of the loaves and fishes

504, Early Christian art, Mosaic
Jesus faces directly toward the viewer. The gold background represented divinity and was standard for medieval mosaics.

Rebecca and Eliezer at the well

Early sixth century , tempera, gold, and silver on a purple vellum.
Classical motifs and stylistic modes persist in this sumptuously painted book (the oldest well-perserved manuscript containing biblical scenes). Two episode in a single setting.

Hagia Sophia

532-537, Early Byzantine, Anthemius of Tralles and Isodurus of Miletus
The reign of Justinian marks the beginning of the first golden age of Byzantine art and architecture. One of the restored churches of Constantinople.

interior of Hagia Sophia

532-537, Early Byzantine, Anthemius of Tralles and Isodurus of Miletus
Pendentive construction made it possible to construct the dome that rays a halo of light. A "golden chain of heaven".

San Vitale

526-547, Early Byzantine
Honored Saint Vitalis, who was martyred at Ravenna in the second century. Ravenna was the seat of Byzantine dominion. The interior filtered light through alabaster-paned windows and contains mosaics and glowing marbles that cover San Vitale's complex wall.

Justinian, Bishop Maximianus, and attendants

547, Early Byzantine, Mosaic
San Vitale's mosaics reveal the new Byzantine aesthetic. Justinian is foremost among the dematerialized frontal figures who hover before the viewer.

Theodora and Attendants

547, Early Byzantine, Mosaic
Empress Theodora, a powerful figure at the Byzantine court. She never visited Ravenna so their mosaics represent their "visitation".

Virgin and Child, between Saints Theodore and George

6th century, Early Byzantine, Icon
Byzantine icons continued the Roman tradition of panel painting in encaustic on wood panels, but the hieratic style as well the Christian subjects broke sharply from classical models.

Christ as Pantokrator

1090-1100, Middle Byzantine, Mosaic
The fearsome image of Christ as "ruler of all", is like a gigantic icon hovering dramatic in space. The mosaic serves to connect the awestruck worshiper below the dome with heaven through Christ.

Crucifixion

1090-1100, Middle Byzantine, Mosaic
Subtle blend of Hellenistic style and the more abstract Byzantine manner. The virgin Mary and Saint John point to Christ on the cross as if to a devotional object.

Saint Marks

1063, Middle Byzantine
Has a central dome over the crossing and four other domes over the four equal arms of the Greek cross. The walls are covered with gold-ground mosaics.

Lamentation

1164, Middle Byzantine, wall painting
Staged the emotional scene of the lamentation on a hilly landscape below a blue sky and peopled it with fully modeled actors.

David composing the Psalms

950-970, Middle Byzantine, Folio 1
Revived Classical style, David is here portrayed like a greek hero, accompanied by Melody, Echo, Bethlehem.

Virgin (Theotokos) and Child

Late 11th to 12th CE, Middle Byzantine, Icon
Mary is depicted as the virgin of compassion, who presses her cheek against her son, as she contemplates his future.

See More

Flickr Creative Commons Images

Some images used in this set are licensed under the Creative Commons through Flickr.com. Click to see the original works with their full license.

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