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date: 17 August 2019

Ostrogothic artlocked

  • Carola Hicks

Extract

Term used to describe the art produced by the Ostrogoths, barbarian peoples whose invasion of the declining Roman Empire helped to transform Late Antique into medieval art. They occupied Italy in ad 488, and they were followers of Arianism. Their king Theodoric the Great (reg 489–526) had been brought up at the Byzantine court of Constantinople (now Istanbul); the arts that he promoted reflected his desire to be seen as a Roman emperor. At his capital Ravenna he restored historic buildings and commissioned new ones in the Byzantine style. His mausoleum combines Roman and Germanic elements; it is built of stone, in two storeys, with an arcaded base supporting a circular domed gallery, the roof of which is a single slab weighing 470 tons. The only decoration is a simple carved frieze. One of his churches, S Apollinare Nuovo, contains mosaics that celebrate the Ostrogothic kingdom. Other works include palaces at Ravenna and Verona and the refortification of many city walls. Theodoric also imitated the imperial coinage; on the gold ...

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