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Anne-Mette Gravgaard, Nano Chatzidakis and Olga Etinhof

Term used to describe the art of Orthodox Christianity that developed after the fall of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453 and the dissolution of the Byzantine empire.

Anne-Mette Gravgaard

The Orthodox world post-1453 can be divided into three main spheres: the Athonite sphere, consisting of Orthodox territories under Turkish rule; the Venetian sphere, consisting of Venice’s possessions in the eastern Mediterranean; and the peripheral sphere, consisting primarily of Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Moldavia (partly Moldova, partly Romania), Wallachia (now in Romania) and Georgia.

The Athonite sphere was dominated by two great centres of Orthodox monasticism, Meteora and Mt Athos. The economic basis for undertaking monumental and icon painting was weaker than in previous centuries; there were no imperial or wealthy aristocratic patrons left, and, even though the Ottoman authorities did not interfere with spiritual matters, the Orthodox population was often harassed by financial exactions. The expensive production of mosaics had already ceased in the 14th century. The main aims of the Church were to survive and to safeguard Orthodoxy. This was reflected in a pronounced conservatism towards art and in persistent efforts to keep it free from Western contamination....