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Lecture 4

VISA-3027 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Nika Riots, Byzantine Architecture, Byzantine Art

Visual Culture - Art
Course Code
Heather Coffey

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VISA 3027: Medieval Art & Architecture
4. Early Byzantine Art and Architecture
(Slide 1) Early Byzantine Art and Architecture
Imperial zone - different from art and architecture in Latin west
(Slide 2) Byzantine Empire
330 CE Constantine Moves the capital to Byzantium
395 CE = Roman empire divides
Constantine's reign changed Christianity and laid foundation of byzantine emperor
o Transfer imperial capital from Rome to Byzantium (New Rome)
o Allow Constantine to insert power in North and East side
o Roman empire enters sensitive space - political and theological debates
o Western roman empire and Eastern roman empire
Two different political zone, different Christianity and two romes
Eastern roman empire (Byzantine empire) - cycles of flourishing and
6/7/8 century - Emperor Justinian
(Slide 3) Byzantine empire under Justinian
Eastern and western empire collide within each other
Justianian expands border to encompassed Italian peninsula
(Slide 4 - 5) Situated on the Golded Horn
Byzantine is built on peninsula
Port to many places (important military location and prime for economic wealth)
Demarcation side of Europe and Asia
(Slide 6 - 17 ) Anthemius of tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, Hagia Sophia 532 - 537 CE,
Major structure associated of Justinian is a Church called Hagia Sophia
Built by Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus
Consider important monument of Constantinople - marks Justinian's reign
Hagia Sophia means Holy wisdom
Converted to mosque - added minarets (towers)
Earlier Church destroyed during the Nika Riots in 532
o During sports riots with imperial families that had political views to take over
o 270 ft long, 240 ft wide, dome is 108 ft in diameter, apex (top of dome) rise 180 ft
above ground
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o Material used is concrete - roman is master that allow roman to built structures of
the size they do
Roman city's infiltrator to last long and extend - baked brick and cut stone -
geometry for this angle
Four court - atrium that extends
o Interior space:
Draws on early Christian structure: larger concessional space, wider than side
aisle - four court atrium, apes is perturbing from far end that creates a
longitude access, second excess (vertical) that's created by the dome, central
dome - heavy and big (largest known dome in Europe)
Four huge black marks on ground plan: refer to solid structure, pillars
that are big and positions to support dome with wall to keep the domes
up with support
Use basic geometric forms for elements - main is supported by two half
domes - pressure of central dome is absorbed by pillars and excess
pressure is absorbed by half domes
Elegant and simple structure - expand effect and absorbing pressure of
dome but looks beautiful
Byzantine architecture creates new age architecture
Suspender from heaven - about dome
Windows creates an levitating image of the dome - elements put together produce unified
Dome has based (40 windows) - square base - puncture with windows - colonised
combine with upper portion of the wall creates an almost lacey interior with windows -
distracts you from sense of heaviness
Pendentive - disguised with painted angels - refers to concaved triangular shape of
masonry - transition of dome onto a square based
o Multiple ways dome is supported - drawing attention away from solidity and density
of material
o Overturn of scale to a psychological experience that's marshalled to keep dome up
Previous^^^ talking about mosaics and lights, used with concrete - cut stone and bricks
Use of marble - all marble: columns and colonnade
o Slabs of marble, cut and arranged on wall to cover brick - using different type and
colour of marble - marble creates optical designs - juxtapose panels on wall as it
creates a visual texture - unexpected beautiful pattern and colour
o Delicacy of carving in various point in interior - called basket capital - treatment of
capital in a way that carefully carve and undercut - delicacy to carving, a bit styled,
impression of lace like
Justinian and wife Theodora (rag to riches)
o Theodora, former dance, key figure in expansion of byzantine emperor
(15) marble bust of Anicia juliana
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