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Pina Belli D’Elia

[Lat. Acheruntia]

Town and commune in the province of Potenza, southern Italy. Known for its strategic position on top of a rocky hill, it was a Roman colony and subsequently coveted by Byzantines, Goths, and Lombards. During this time it was under the authority of Benevento, and later on Salerno. It was conquered in 1043 when the city came under the rule of Asclettino I, Count of Acerenza (d 1045), brother of Ranulph, Count of Aversa (reg 1030–45), and then from 1061 Acerenza was under the control of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia (reg 1059–85). It was at this time that Pope Nicholas II (reg 1058–61) elevated the city to an archbishopric. The first archbishop was Arnaldo, from Cluny, and in 1080, when the relics of St Canius were discovered, he founded a new cathedral in the centre of town, which is now the main monument. In ...

Article

Ahenny  

Roger Stalley

Site of an obscure Early Christian settlement formerly known as Kilclispeen (St Crispin’s Church) in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. The only remains are two outstanding stone crosses and the base of a third (c. 750–900), which are situated in a graveyard below the village. The crosses belong to a well-defined regional group and were constructed of three characteristic elements: a square base with sloping sides, a shaft with an unusually wide ring and a peculiar, rather ill-fitting, conical cap (the latter missing on the south cross). With its capstone, the north cross measures 3.7 m in height. The form of the Ahenny crosses is emphasized by a bold cable ornament along the outer contours. Projecting from the main faces are sculpted bosses, the most prominent feature of the ‘Ahenny school’. The ring and shaft of the crosses are covered with dense patterns of carved ornament, including interlace, spirals, frets, entangled beasts and interlocking men. Much of this decoration can be compared with the metalwork and manuscript illumination of the period, and it appears that the sculptors were in effect transposing altar or processional crosses into stone. With the addition of pigment, the analogy with metalwork would have been complete. In contrast to the shafts and rings, the bases bear figure sculpture in low relief. That on the north cross is best preserved and represents Adam and Eve with the animals in the Garden of Eden, a chariot procession (a theme repeated on other Irish crosses), seven ecclesiastics (possibly symbolizing Christ’s mission to the Apostles) and an enigmatic funeral procession with a headless corpse....

Article

Franz Rickert

Roman and Early Christian city at the east end of the plain of the Veneto, c. 90 km north-east of Venice and 5 km from the Adriatic coast. Founded as a Roman colony in 181 bc, it received full town status in 89 bc and became the regional capital of Venetia et Histria. It was strategically sited on the River Natissa, which was navigable to the sea, and at the intersection of routes leading north-west over the Alps and north-east to the Balkans. Written sources indicate that several emperors, including Constantine the Great, had a residence in Aquileia; from ad 294 to the 5th century it also had its own mint. In 313 it became a bishopric and in 381 it was the venue of a council before which followers of Arianism were tried. Civil wars and the invasions of the Huns (452) and the Lombards (568) led to the migration of most of the population and the transference of the see to Grado....

Article

Asinou  

Susan Young

[Gr. Panagia Phorbiotissa: ‘Our Lady of the Pastures’]

Byzantine church in Cyprus, situated on the west side of the island, 4 km south-west of the village of Vizakia. The church was originally part of the monastery of the Phorbia (destr.), and a marginal note in a synaxarion copied in Cyprus or Palestine in 1063 indicates that the manuscript once belonged to this monastery. The church is renowned for its well-preserved cycles of wall paintings and painted inscriptions, two of which attribute the foundation and decoration of the church to Nicephoros Ischyrios, the Magistros, in 1105–6. A third, damaged inscription mentions a certain ‘Theophilos’ and ‘the people’, who were probably responsible for a programme of redecoration in 1332–3. The wall paintings were cleaned and restored in 1965–8 by Ernest Hawkins and David Winfield under the auspices of the Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC.

The church is a single-aisle structure with a semicircular apse and barrel-vaulted nave supported by transverse ribs and engaged piers, forming three blind niches in the north and south walls. In plan it resembles the parekklesion of the Cypriot monastery of St John Chrysosthomos, but it does not have a dome. Although the original walls were of stone mortared with mud, probably in the late 12th century, yellow sandstone of better quality was used for the construction of a domed narthex with north and south absidioles; this arrangement is found elsewhere in Cyprus, at the monasteries of St John Chrysosthomos, and the Panagia Apsinthiotissa. The church was later given a secondary steeply pitched wooden roof of a type common among the Cypriot mountain churches....

Article

A. Dean McKenzie

(fl c. 1290–1311). Byzantine painter active in Macedonia. ‘Astrapas’ (Gr.: ‘lightning’) is a pseudonym, and some scholars doubt that it refers to a particular artist. Although the name Astrapas appears together with the name Michael on the wall painting (1295) in the church of the Mother of God Peribleptos in Ohrid, it is not clear whether the two names belong to one and the same artist or two different people. It is also not possible to distinguish the style of Astrapas from that of Michael and Eutychios who also painted frescoes there. The signature of ‘Astrapas’ as painter appears in the exonarthex of the church of the Mother of God (Sveta Bogorodica) Ljeviška (1307–9) in Prizren, where his work has been associated with that of the so-called ‘Master of the Prophets’. Astrapas has also been credited with the frescoes (c. 1311) in the church of the Ascension in the monastery of Žića, in Serbia. His style of painting is characterized by dramatic composition and lively, lifelike figures achieved through the use of classicizing three-dimensional techniques and a palette of warm colours against dark blue backgrounds. His nationality has been disputed, some scholars believing him to be an itinerant Greek artist recruited from Thessaloniki into the service of the Serbian king ...

Article

Berende  

Tania Velmans

Village c. 40 km north of Sofia in Bulgaria. It is famous for its Byzantine church dedicated to St Peter. Built on the edge of the River Nishava, the church has a single nave (4.50×8.50 m) and contains on the west façade fragments of a donor inscription referring to King John Asen II (reg 1218–41), during whose reign it may have been built. There is some controversy regarding the date of its paintings, which have been assigned to both the 13th and the 14th centuries. In the apse all has been lost apart from Four Bishop–Saints Officiating at the Liturgy Accompanied by Two Deacons. The Mandylion was painted on the eastern wall above the apse, between the Virgin and the Archangel of the Annunciation. The Ever-seeing Eye occupies the western niche in the prothesis, and a large bust of St Peter near the iconostasis is surrounded by a masonry frame imitating the appearance of an icon. The scenes and figures painted on the vaulting have disappeared, but part of the ...

Article

Jonathan Harris

[Johannes]

(b Trebizond (now Trabzon), Jan 2, 1402; d Ravenna, Nov 18, 1472).

Byzantine cleric and patron. Consequent on the negotiations for the union of the Western and Eastern churches (1438–9), in which he took a prominent part, Bessarion changed to the Latin rite and was created a cardinal by Pope Eugenius IV (reg 1431–47). He resided in Rome from the 1440s as Cardinal Bishop of Sabina and Tusculum and later as titular Patriarch of Constantinople, during which time he employed the considerable revenues that he drew from these appointments to restore churches including SS Apostoli (c. 560) in Rome and della Madonna del Monte (12th century) in Bologna where he commissioned frescoes (destr.) by Galasso Galassi (fl 1449–88).

Bessarion’s patronage was influenced by his Byzantine roots. The chapel of the Madonna di San Luca (1198) in Bologna probably benefited from his generosity because it contained an icon from Constantinople, while the Madonna of Bessarion...

Article

Boyana  

Tania Velmans

Village 8 km south of Sofia in Bulgaria, famous for its two Byzantine churches. The earlier of the pair, which stand side by side, is dedicated to the Virgin; various building dates have been proposed, including the 10th century, the 11th and the early 12th. It is a small cruciform structure with a dome over a high drum and an apse pierced with arched windows. Several badly damaged frescoes survive inside, depicting the Fathers of the Church Officiating at a Service, the Dormition of the Virgin and the Crucifixion.

The second church is dedicated to SS Nicholas and Panteleimon, and according to an inscription its construction and decoration were funded by Sebastokrator Kaloyan in 1259. It has two storeys: the ground floor was used for burials and the upper floor as a chapel. Its cruciform plan is surmounted by a dome supported by pendentives. The wall paintings were executed in tempera and are often thought to derive from the Komnenian style of painting found in several churches at ...

Article

Pina Belli D’Elia

[Lat. Brundisium]

City in Apulia, southern Italy. Founded by the Messapii on the southern coast of the Adriatic Sea, Brindisi became famous for its natural, well-protected port, and was chosen by the Romans as the end of the Via Appia-Traiana, then by the Byzantines and Normans who used it as a main point of departure for Constantinople and the Holy Land. Very little remains of the ancient city, which was devastated by the Lombards and Saracens, and reconstructed by the Byzantines (10th century) but deprived of its bishopric, which was transferred to Oria.

The revival of the city started at the end of the 11th century with the Norman conquest, when Brindisi became a fief of Goffredo, Count of Conversano (d 1100). He brought back the bishopric and founded the monastery of S Maria, which was given to Benedictine nuns. Today, the church of S Benedetto has a particularly long ground-plan that is divided by two rows of columns into three naves. Among the capitals and semi-capitals in marble only one has animal decoration. Some of the capitals in the cloister have winged animals. The marble portal on the north side has a sculpted frame and architrave showing hunting scenes....

Article

Annemarie Weyl Carr

(b Berlin, Aug 11, 1909; d London, Nov 10, 1996).

German scholar of Byzantine, East Christian and European illuminated manuscripts. He took his degree in 1933 at the University of Hamburg in the heady community of the Warburg Library (later Institute) under the tutelage of Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl. Immigrating with the Warburg staff and library to London in 1934, he served from 1940 to 1949 as the Institute’s Librarian and from 1944 to 1965 as Lecturer, Reader and then Professor of Byzantine art at the University of London. In 1965 he came to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, becoming in 1970 the first Ailsa Mellon Bruce Professor. He retired in 1975 to London, where he died in 1996.

Buchthal is best known for his Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1957), which laid the foundation for the now well-established art-historical field of Crusader studies. It exemplifies both his originality and the methods that made his scholarship so durable. Fundamental among these were his holistic approach to manuscripts, giving as much attention to ornament, liturgical usage, text traditions, palaeography and apparatus as to miniatures, and his relentlessly keen visual analysis. Aided by a powerful memory, he worked from original monuments, developing exceptional acuity in dissecting the formal components of their images. Mobilized in his dissertation, published in ...

Article

Butrint  

T. F. C. Blagg

[It. Butrinto; anc. Gr. Bouthroton; Lat. Buthrotum]

Site in southern Albania, set on a hill beside a coastal lagoon connected to the sea by a natural channel. The city flourished in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine times. Excavation and display of its extensive and deserted remains, begun by the Italians in 1928, have been continued by Albanian archaeologists; finds are displayed in the site museum (renovated 1988) and in the National Historical Museum, Tiranë. It was probably a colony of Kerkyra (Corfu), from which its site is visible. Earliest occupation on the hilltop is shown by Corinthian pottery of the 7th–6th centuries bc and a wall of polygonal masonry, rebuilt in the 5th century bc. By the following century the expanding city required new walls, which survive up to 9 m high and include the Lion Gate, named after the Archaic relief reused as its lintel (6th century bc). Butrint became a centre for the surrounding Epirot people, the ...

Article

(b London, Feb 26, 1905; d off Stornaway, Feb 24, 1941).

British writer and traveller. His travels in Greece in 1925–7 resulted in two books, The Station and The Byzantine Achievement, in which he presented readers brought up on the culture of Classical antiquity with a novel view of the importance of the civilization of Byzantium and the seminal influence of its art on the later development of European painting. In The Birth of Western Painting he developed this line of thought with a reassessment of El Greco as the ‘last and greatest flower of Byzantine genius’. His best-known book is The Road to Oxiana, a record of travels through Persia and Afghanistan in 1933–4 in search of the origins of Islamic architecture and culture. He contributed a conspectus of Timurid architecture and photographs taken on his journeys to the Survey of Persian Art. Although his views were often coloured by personal enthusiasm and prejudices (for example his hatred of the historical writings of Edward Gibbon) a surprising number of his insights into Byzantine and Islamic culture have been confirmed by later scholarship, and he played a major role in bringing these cultures to the attention of educated readers. He was also a founder-member of the ...

Article

Jeffrey West

[Ger. Byzantinische Blüthenblatt]

Term used to describe a wide range of ‘floral’ motifs prominent in Western art from the 11th century to the end of the 12th. The German term was first used to describe generically similar motifs that appear in 10th-century Byzantine art, for example in the Hippiatrika Codex (Berlin, Preuss. Staatsbib. Kultbes., cod. Phillipps 1538, fol. 39v). The early 12th-century reference by Theophilus to ‘folia graeca’ may refer to Byzantine ‘leaf-flowers’ although the term is not documented in other sources. The variation of the constituent leaves is common to both Eastern and Western ornaments. Unlike the rosette, the leaves typically rise from the junction of the flower and stem. Their origins may lie in the Classical palmette, although Sasanian ornaments provide the immediate models for the Byzantine flowers. Whereas in Byzantine art the flowers are conservative in form and detail, Western blossoms are characteristically individualized. In the decorated headpieces of Byzantine manuscripts (see above), the flowers occupy the centres and interstitial spaces of series of delicately painted roundels. In both Middle Byzantine metalwork and Western art the flowers are used as the decorative terminals of running scrollwork....

Article

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

Susan Pinto Madigan

[Tsaritsin Grad, Tzaritchingrad; LatJustiniana Prima]

Site of an early Byzantine city located 30 km south-west of Leskovac in Serbia. The name means ‘the emperor’s fortress’, and it can almost certainly be identified with Justiniana Prima, which, according to Prokopios (b c. ad 500), Justinian I founded c. ad 525–50 in honour of his birthplace, Tauresium. The site occupies a high plateau between the rivers Svinjarica to the west and Caričina to the east; an aqueduct also brought water from the Petrova Gora, 17 km to the south, and entered the city at the south-west corner. Fortifications strengthened with towers and wide ditches surround the city (c. 500 m north–south by c. 215 m east–west), which is divided into two parts: an upper city area that contains a polygonal acropolis and a lower city to the south-east. Excavations, first undertaken in 1912 and continued from the 1940s, have shown that the city was destroyed within a century of its foundation, probably by the Avaro-Slavs, but it was briefly revived in the 9th and 10th centuries. Many of the finds are in the National Museum at Leskovac....

Article

G. Gaeta Bertelà

(b Lyon, April 22, 1827; d Florence, Sept 21, 1888).

French collector. His father Jean-Baptiste Carrand (1792–1871) was a collector of medieval and Renaissance decorative objects (Byzantine and Gothic ivories, Renaissance maiolica, enamelwork, arms, bronzes and coins) and a connoisseur of manuscripts and documents, first in Lyon and then in Paris, where Louis worked in partnership with him. Their most prestigious purchases were some early medieval and Gothic ivory pieces and the famous flabellum (9th century, court of Charles the Bald) from the Benedictine abbey of Tournus in Burgundy. In 1867 they exhibited ivories, bronzes, arms, wood-carvings and secular gold items in the Exposition Universelle, Paris. After his father’s death Louis continued to enlarge the collection. In particular he added early medieval and Renaissance textiles. In 1880 he moved to Nice and in 1881 to Pisa, where he remained until 1886, continuing to buy artefacts not only from French and Italian sales but also from England, Germany, Greece and Turkey. In ...

Article

Marco Carminati

[anc. Sibrium]

Italian village in Lombardy, 14 km south of Varese, with a population of c. 1000. It was an important town from the Early Christian period to the late Middle Ages and its architectural and artistic remains were rediscovered, excavated and studied after World War II following centuries of dereliction. In the 4th or 5th century a fortified settlement called Sibrium was established in the hilly area between present-day Milan and Varese. It played an important military and strategic role and was soon granted a parish church, with jurisdiction over a vast territory stretching from Lake Lugano to the gates of Milan. Under the Lombards (569–774) it became the regional administrative centre. During the Carolingian period the surrounding region of Seprio experienced substantial prosperity and independence. Around the year 1000, however, its fortunes turned owing to the desire of the increasingly powerful cities of Como and Milan to extend their influence over this rich and strategically significant territory. Castelseprio sided with Frederick Barbarossa in his conflict with the ...

Article

James Stevens Curl

Place, usually a ground but sometimes a structure, used for the entombment of the dead. The term derives from the Latin coemeterium, an adaptation of koimetrion (Gr: ‘dormitory’). It was employed by Early Christian writers to describe underground burial-places, also known as catacombs or hypogea (see Catacomb §1), and it was later applied to the consecrated enclosure attached to a church or even extended to the church building itself. The term has since come to denote a burial-ground, especially a large public park or land laid out for the interment of the dead, and in this form it has become distinguished from the ‘yard’ of a church. This article is confined to cemeteries in the Western Christian tradition; for further discussion see Cemetery.

During the Middle Ages the parish graveyard and church were closely associated. In many cities arcaded, cloistered walks lined the perimeters of churchyards; one of the largest of these burial-grounds was the ...

Article

M. Guardia

Early Christian mausoleum in Catalonia, Spain, with an outstanding 4th-century mosaic cycle. It is situated 5 km north of Tarragona, which, as Tarraco, was the capital of the Hispano-Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis. Excavations between 1959 and 1970 by Schlunk and Hauschild revealed that it was built within the living quarters of a Roman suburban villa, which was extensively remodelled during the 4th century. An adjacent room may also have been a mausoleum. Its ground-plan comprises a double-shell design, consisting of a circular core (diam. 10.7 m) and a quadrangular outer shell with an apse at each corner. A stairway leads down from the mausoleum’s centre to a barrel-vaulted burial crypt and sub-crypt or chamber, which insulated the crypt from the damp subsoil. The mausoleum is built in brick and concrete and has a domed roof 13.6 m high; the construction of the dome has parallels in eastern Roman architecture. It is lit by two windows in the mausoleum’s north and south sides and by the main northern entrance....

Article

Roger Stalley

[Gael. Cluain Moccu Nóis]

Monastery in Co. Offaly, Ireland. Clonmacnois was one of the most celebrated Early Christian monasteries in Ireland, famed for its learning and artistic patronage and best known today for an outstanding collection of monuments and stone carvings. The monastery was founded by St Ciaran in 548 (or 545 according to some authorities) on a commanding site above a bend in the River Shannon. Located in the heart of the country, it enjoyed the patronage of a number of Irish dynasties and benefited particularly from the O’Conor kings of Connaught, several of whom were buried there. What started as a small religious community became the core of a monastic city, with much commercial activity and hundreds of lay inhabitants (in one incident in 1179 no fewer than 105 houses were burnt). Associated with the monastic workshops are such major items of Irish metalwork as the shrine of the Stowe Missal (...