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AP Art History - Early Christian, Byzantine, and Middle East

Terms in this set (77)

means Holy wisdom.
Combination of basilica and vaults
Largest dome in the West to date
Like Galla Placidia dome rests on pendentives(4 triangular sections which appear to hang)
Pendentives are Byzantines greatest contribution
Built of brick- necessitated buttresses
Imperial place of worship
It was the most important contribution of Justinian's reign. It is located in Constantinople. Justinian built many civic and religious structure. People were taxed greatly for the expense. Hagia Sophia, was built for Justinian by the architects Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus between 532 and 537. It is a huge structure, 270 feet long and 240 feet wide. The dome is 108 feet in diameter, and the crown rises 180 feet above the pavement. From the outside the great dome dominates, but the exterior was altered with huge buttresses and four Turkish minarets were constructed after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 when Hagia Sophia became an Islamic mosque. Now, in the 21st century, the building is a museum and nondenominational. The exterior plainness is in contrast to the exquisite interior. The huge narthex with its many entrances leads into the center of the structure, where a canopy like dome seems to be on a halo of light from the windows in the base of the dome. The dome rests on four pendentives, which is a major contribution from Byzantium to architectural engineering. It uses brick instead of concrete marking a further departure from Roman practice.
The nave was reserved by the clergy and the congregation were placed in the galleries and aisles. This allowed only partial view of the ceremony. The emperor alone was allowed into the sanctuary, symbolically unifying church and state.
At Hagia Sophia the combination of Greek theology, the ambitions of Rome, the vaulting tradition of the Near East and the mysticism of Eastern Christianity combine to create a magnificent monument.
The Roman basilica, the building in which judicial, commercial, and governmental activities took place, became the primary architectural model for Christian churches in the early Middle Ages. Medieval Italian churches generally imitated its basic design.
In Classe, near Ravenna, is an excellent example of the early Christian basilican form.
The relics of the Early Christian leaders and emperors were venerated as if they were the person, such as the cross, relics and mementos. Even vessels associated with holy rites came to be worshiped as real presences and to have believed to have sacramental and magical powers, such as healing. This worked in the service of both Church and the sanctified imperial state. This image would influence the Middle Ages strongly both in the East and the West.
The end of the period of Justinianic Ravenna closes with the Church of Sant'Appollinare in Classe, a few miles from Ravenna, where the hieratic style of Byzantine reaches a standard and is also a point of departure. Here is where Saint Appolinaris rested and was venerated. The building itself is Early Christian, a three aisled basilica. It has a semicircle interior with a polygonal exterior. The outside is plain and the inside has mosaics. They are in the triumphal arch and the apse behind it.

orant position
feet frontal
golden style
The mosaic decorating the semi-vault above the apse in Saint 'Appolinaris, was completed in 549, when the church was dedicated. It has a large blue medallion on a gold ground, with a jeweled cross (symbol of the transfiguration of Christ)
It may be another version of the cross Constantine had built on the hill of Calvary to commemorate the martyrdom of Jesus-the cross that we also saw represented at Santa Prudensiana in Rome. Above the cross is the hand of God. On either side of the medallion, in the clouds appear the figures of Moses and Elijah, who appeared before Christ during his transfiguration. Below these two figures are three sheep, three disciples who accompanied Christ to the foot of the Mount. Beneath in the midst of green fields with trees, flowers, and birds stands the patron saint of the church, Apollinaris. He is accompanied by twelve sheep(12 disciples), and a decorative base. The face of Christ is on the arch above in a medallion and the signs of the evangelists are represented in the rainbow-streaked heavens. In comparison to Galla Placidia the style has changed dramatically during the coarse of a century. Both have a human figure and some sheep in a landscape. But in Classe, in the mid-sixth century, the artist does not recreate a segment of the physical world. The story is told in flat symbols, lined upside by side. No overlapping is done. Shapes have lost their volume and become flat silhouettes. Details are done with line work. It seems more like a luxurious tapestry, narrating a story directly.
Central church types. Justinain as emperor in Constantinople began about a year after Theodoric. In the politics of that day, the building of a church that would surpass anything undertaken by Theodoric would serve as both an assertion of Justinian's authority in Italy and as evidence of the weakening power of Theodoric Ostrogothic successors. Immediately Justinian decided to build the church of San Vitale at Ravenna. At first Justinian's power over the Western Roman Empire was anything but certain, and so the project sat in limbo. Eventually, the use of force was needed to assert his Italian claims, and his armies entered the city in year 540, after that the construction went quickly...7yrs later the church was ready for its dedication by Archbishop Maximian. As usual little attention was paid to decorating the exterior, but the interior of this church is a virtual jewel box with multi colored marble walls, carved alabaster columns, pierced marble screens, and sanctuary mosaics. Architecturally San Vitale = central-type church, differing very much from Saint Apollinaire Nuovo. It has all the usual features of the basilica...nartex entrance, circular nave, surrounding side isles, triumphal arch leading into the sanctuary w/ an apse and two side chambers. Difference btw the oblong basilica and a centralized church is the direction of the axis. Oblong=axis runs horizontally through the center of the building, dividing the church in two halves, eye leading toward the apse.
In central type axis is vertical, leading the eye upward from the central floor space to the dome. Other than the oblong narthex on the west and the apse and side chapels on the east=simple octagon.
2 side chambers of the apse are usually associated w/ EASTERN ORTHODOX churches. Their presence here points to the fact that San Vitale was designed as a theatre for the Byzantine liturgy. The northern chamber=PROTHESIS, place where communion wine and bread are prepared for the altar. Eastern Orthodox tradition assumes a dramatic character, sacramental bread was symbolically "wounded, killed, & buried" on the table of the prothesis, where it appeared on the altar, where it symbolized the resurrection of the body. The southern chamber=diakonikon served as the vestry and place to store the sacred objects. While the rectangular ancestors of the rectangular basilicas were Roman domestic and public buildings, the centralized church derives from ancient circular tombs such as Hadrian's colossal monument on the banks of the Tiber. The ancient preference for the circular mausoleum can be explained partly by its symbolism. Immortality was frequently represented by the image of a serpent biting its tail-that is, a living creature whose end was joined to its beginning. Another ancestor is the round classical temple, such as the Pantheon. Church built in the same form as a tomb is by no means as somber as it may sound, however in the Christian sense, a church symbolized the Eater tomb, reminding all of the resurrection of Christ. In his memory, churches were dedicated to martyrs & saints who were believed to be partaking of the heavenly life w/ him, just as the faithful hoped that they themselves would one day be doing. The ancient Orphic cult had stressed the idea of the body being the tomb of the spirit. Hence, death and resurrection were aspects of one and the same idea, and the martyr's death was a mystical union with Christ. The altar itself was a repository for the sacred relics of the saint to whom the church was dedicated. Early altars in the catacombs actually were sarcophagi that served also as communion tables. W/in the rites of the church, the earthly past of Christ, his apostles, saints, and martyrs were commemorated, and, at the same time, the glorious heavenly future was anticipated.
mosaic
frontal
Left is clergy
Right is military and court officials
Gold background
In the apse of San Vitale, facing the altar from opposite sides, are two panels in mosaic that portray the leading figures of the early Byzantine rule in Ravenna. In this image we see Emperor Justinian appearing in the midst of his courtiers. On the other, facing him as an equal, is the Empress Theodora in all her sovereign splendor. It is significant that the finest existing portrait of Justinian should be mosaic rather than in the form of a sculptured bust, a bronze figure on horseback or a colossal statue. It is just this medium that could best capture the unique spirit of his life and times.
Justinian based his rule on the skillful use of legal and theological formulas as well as on naked military might. He was mainly concerned w/ codification of Roman law, presiding at religious councils, and reconciling different political points of view. This is all evident in this composition, in fact he is represented as a symbol of unity btw the spiritual force of the church on one hand and the temporal power of the state on the other.
Preceding Justinian in the procession are the clergy men, and we see Arch bishop Maximian identified by name. His crucifix is held up as the spiritual and temporal lord of Ravenna. On Justinian's other side we see his courtiers and honor guard holding their jeweled swords. The shield w/ Chrismon insignia points to the status of the soldiers as defenders of faith. The Chrismon was a widely used monogram of the time, made of 2 Greek letters CHI (X) & RHO (P), which together form the abbreviation of Christ. Somewhat more allegorically, the letters become a combination of the Cross and the Sheppard's crook, which symbolize the Savior's death and pastoral mission.
Justinian stands in the center magnificently clothed and crowned w/ imperial diadem. The observer is forced to recognize that his is no ordinary royal person but rather one who could sign his name as Emperor Caesar Flavius, Justinianus, Alamanicus, Francicus, Germanicus, etc. As great as Justinian's military exploits were, it is his works of peace that have endured. He is also remembered for his monumental code the Digest of Laws which prevailed for centuries through out Western world.