Fine Arts | Byzantine Art
A425 | 22992 | Kleinbauer
This lecture and discussion course will investigate the fabric of
the opulent arts of the Byzantine Empire from the sixth century A.D.
to the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453. It will
attempt to show that Byzantine art is not the anonymous product of
an anonymous culture. The production of many works can be related
to specific circumstances and people, and the revelation of these
parameters indicate that Byzantine art changed over the centuries
rather than remaining constant. Different conditions and events
explain these changes. Not homogeneous, the arts served a culture
that esteemed traditions and a church that promoted eternal values
and doctrines. In this regard Byzantine art is a highly functional
art in which continuity and conformity were key qualities. This
aspect of the arts is especially evident in the "holy icons"
produced by Byzantine artists, and we shall see that the icons stand
for Byzantine identity. The evolving character of this identity is
underscored by the secular and ecclesiastical buildings and their
mosaics and frescoes, painted books, goldsmiths' work, enamel work,
and ivory carvings. By examining selected major and minor examples
of all these artistic media we will begin to understand how to
define Byzantine art as both a vision and a reality.
Quizzes, midterm, research paper, final examination.