Early Christian and Byzantine Art Vocabulary

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


Catacomb: Cubicula Synagogue Basilica Evangelists Nave Apse Buttress Putto/Putti Catacomb Orant Sarcophagus Narthex Transept. Codex Illuminated Manuscript Parchment/vellum Chalice/patten Pendentives Icons Iconoclasts/iconophiles Chi-rho. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


The Multi-Cultural Empire

Early Christian and Byzantine Art VocabularyCatacomb: CubiculaSynagogueBasilicaEvangelistsNaveApseButtress Putto/PuttiCatacombOrantSarcophagusNarthexTransept

CodexIlluminated ManuscriptParchment/vellumChalice/pattenPendentivesIconsIconoclasts/iconophilesChi-rho

Judaic, Synagogue at Dura Europos, Syria, 244-245 CE2The Synagogue discovered in Dura-Europos is one of the temples of the various religions existing in Dura at that time. It shows that there were a few Jewish families. Some were Christians and the rest of the population had adopted other religions prevailing in the Roman Period. The interior has mural paintings in four rows. The three upper rows depict scenes from the Old Testament, whereas the lower one shows a tiger, a lioness and a mask not relating to the upper scenes. The ceiling of the Synagogue is decorated with terracotta square slabs bearing motifs incarnating flora in human forms, or forms of flowers, roses, fruits and corn-ears etc. The Exodus from Egypt

3This panel illustrates key events of the Exodus in a triptych moving from right to left. The right portion shows Moses leading the people of Israel as they leave behind Egypt, with its doors open. In the center of the panel, Moses has raised his hand, apparently holding a rod, over the sea to destroy the pursuing Egyptians (Exod 14:26-29). On the left Moses appears with the people of Israel, organized in twelve tribes, at his right hand. They have safely crossed through the Sea under the care of God, whose protecting hands overshadow them.

Roman Catacombs, Late RomanEarly 4th century 4Not a fun place to be-not used for regular worship, but just for burialArt is created rapidly under miserable conditions

Early Christian, Three Hebrew Youths in the Fiery Furnace, Early 3rd Century, Catacomb of Pricilla, Rome

Early Christian, Catacomb of Ss. Peter and Marcelinus, Rome, 4th century6Many different scenes all separated by a thin line Content is important because it shows how Christian images derive from Jewish imagesThemes of Salvation and peace in the afterlifeGood Shepherd is a classical image: Calfbearer, offering sacrifice, as well as a God who cares for his flockBrings to mind a peaceful afterlife (Christ referred to himself as a Good Shepherd)Orant figure is of Prayer to any godJonah and the Whale comes from Jewish Narrative-old testament books of Jewish LawChristianity comes out of Jewish religion which rarely depicted god-2nd commandmentImages of one who is saved after death-Jonah and Whale

Christianity had no artistic vocabulary of their own-its a young religion with a bible just becoming organized into a volumeChristians take OT and suit it to NT so that Jonah becomes a Christ-like figure being saved after death

7Images often speak to members of all faithsChristianity has no individual imagery-it evolves by using borrowed images from Pagan and JudaismOrant figure-possible to all faithsMenorah, JewishHercules and Cerberius with Alcestis and Hades

Early Christian, Sarcophagus of Maria Antigua, 270

Relief detail from a marble sarcophagus of a vintage scene, ca. 3rd century, Rome Early Christian, Good Shepherd, late 3rd century, Rome

Early Christian, Old Saint Peters, Rome, ca. 320NarthexTranseptaisles

11313 edict of Milan legalized Christianity325 Council of Nicaea declared official state religionPaganism declines rapidly and Christians are allowed to practice anywhere they wantNeed for public churches-most outside perimeter of City since Christianity wasnt predominant before the Council of Nicaea-cover catacombsSt. Peters is in the city because it covers the supposed site of St. Peters BurialChristianity takes even architecture and adapts it to suit its needs. Very plain exterior like the Aula palatineMany people can get a good look at the ritual from this buildingDestroyed in 15th century

Late Roman, Aula Palatina, Trier, Germany, 4th cent.12Typical Roman meeting hall, for public use, not Christian or ReligiousTraditional Basilica style in Germany where Constantine constructed his new palaceTraditional Roman materials: wood, bricks, and stucco for a lighter surfaceNO side aisles, need buttresses for open windows that weaken the walls, 95 feet tall

NaveApse13Will be used by later Christians

Early Christian, Santa Sabina, Interior, Rome, 422-3214See interior of something like St. PetersFilled with mosaics or frescosWindows above, corinthian columns and arcades, apse and triumphal archChrist as Good Shepherd, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, Italy, ca. 425

Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, Italy, ca. 425

Santa Costanza, Rome, ca. 337-351

Elevation and Plan, Santa Costanza

Central PlanGreek cross

Early Byzantine, Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, 532-537Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus1919Sits on a hill to hover over the city like the heavens270 long by 240 wide and 180 feet from top of dome to floor108 diameter of the domeDome collapsed after 20 years-too wide to be supportedRound dome on square building

2020Dome rests on a series of windows that appear to be a halo of heavenly lightLight causes the mosaics to sparkle and shine-very spiritual interiorCentral plan causes emperor to be involved in the ritual and religious functionSegregates others in the congregationNames the emperor in its decoration

PendentivesSan Vitale, Ravenna, 526-47

Early Byzantine, San Vitale, Apse View, Ravenna, 526-47

Early Byzantine, Justinian and his Courtiers, San Vitale, 5472626547-in a Church that was ArianOstragoths under TheodoricJustinian reasserts himself as emperor over this landShows the role the emperor plays in the church-censer, patten, badge, purple robe, crown and haloBishop maximianus-labeled as the authority while the Emperor is in ConstantinopleOff perspective-classicism

Early Byzantine, Theodora and her Courtiers, San Vitale, 5472727Racy life of Empress TheodoraNO way known to show a woman in power. Things have to be accomodatedGreater crown, taller, in a niche, purple, no badge-but the magi on the dress, holds chaliceBehind curtain, definite space, courtyard perhaps-shows rank beneath the emperorMixture of images of Authority and Femininity

Early Byzantine, Virgin Enthroned with Saints Icon, 6th centuryIconTemperaTheotokosHieratic

2828Private and public useMaking of icons-mystical experienceUse of them-healing properties, devotion item mediumDifferent depictions of the Virgin and ChildRepainted due to blackening from smoke, repainted-faces left originalPresence of the saintSt. Theodore and GeorgeMedalions


Middle Byzantine,Virgin and Child (Theotokos), Hagia Sophia, 867

Church of the Dormition, Nicaea, Greece, restored, 787Christ as Pantocrator, church of the Dormition, Daphni, Greece, ca. 1090-1100

Pantocrator, Church of the Dormition, Daphni, Greece, ca. 1100 Middle Byzantine, The Lamentation, Saint Pantaleimon, Macedonia, 1164

3434Not a scene in the bibleEmotions, gesturesJohn grabs his hand and looks at his face in disbeleifSt. Peter and Nicodemus mourn over the death as well, Angels weep and hover in the blue sky-lapizChange from a flat ground-environmentRock, idea of space and timeDramatic display becomes re-invented over the RenaissanceVirgin and Child (Theotokos), late 11th-early12th century, Russia

Virgin of Compassion

Middle Byzantine, St. Marks Basilica, Venice, 1063 begun3636Variant of the central planEqual arms-Greek cross with five great domesStone domes gilded to be brilliantStill looks back to the east for basiss of architectureBuilt to house relics of St. Mark-earlier church destroyed by fire, this is the third on the same site

Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, Vienna Genesis, early 6th century

CodexIlluminated manuscriptFolioVellumTemperaDavid Composing the Psalms, the Paris Psalter, ca. 950-970


View more >