Byzantine Art

 

 

 

     

Greek Art

Continental Greece was declining by the fourth century, and the once-glorious city of Athens was losing its tolerence - non-Christian philosophers were persecuted. However, Greek culture was still a major force in Constantinople, and in medieval times the empire itself was often described as Greek. In the Byzantine age, the most influential city was Thessalonica (Salonika), known for its magnificent art and splendid monuments, even during the years of Turkish domination. The reconstructed basilica of Hagia Sophia, complete with vaults and dome, was dedicated in the sixth century, and the Boeotian church of the Koimesis at Skripou (ad873—74), with its domed cruciform plan, is also notable for its fine decoration. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a number of cruciform churches were built, their domes supported by four columns or by two columns and two pilasters. Other important churches were constructed on an octagonal plan, such as the 11th-century Sotera Lykodimou in Athens and those at Chios and Daphni. Churches on the inscribed-cross model, with a central dome and four smaller domes at the tips of the arms, were built as far afield as Epirus and Macedonia. Wall-paintings in churches at Salonika, Nikopoli, and Lesbos are reminders of Alexandrian influence in the sixth century, while wall-paintings in the monasteries of Mount Athos, dating from about the 14th century, are more rigidly Byzantine. There is little evidence of Latin influence, although there is some interesting Latin architecture in the Holy Land, including the fortress of St Jean d'Acre at the port of Acre.

 


Panagia ton Chalkeon, or "bronzesmiths' church", Salonika, Greece, 1028.
A masterpiece of late Byzantine art the church is laid out in the shape of a Greek cross,
with an apse, one central dome, and two on the narthex.
Its red brick exterior with round arches and projecting cornices houses 11th-and 14th-century frescos


 

 

Hagia Sophia

Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

 

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

 

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)
 

 

 


Church of the Holy Wisdom


The Church of the Holy Wisdom, commonly known as Hagia Sophia in English, is a former Greek Orthodox church converted to a mosque, in Istanbul (Constantinople). It is universally acknowledged as one of the grea t buildings of the world.Nothing remains of the first church that was built on the same site during the 4th century. Following the destruction of the first church, a second was built by Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great, but was burned down during the Nika riots of 532. The building was rebuilt under the personal supervision of emperor Justinian I and rededicated on December 27, 537.
For architects Justinian chose Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, professors of geometry at the University of Constantinople; Anthemius, however, died within the first year. The construction is described in Procopius' On Buildings (De Aedificiis). The Byzantine poet Paulus the Silentiary composed an extant poetic ekphrasis, probably for the rededication of 563, which followed the collapse of the main dome.
Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Of great artistic value was its decorated interior with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings. The temple itself was so richly and artistically decorated that Justinian is said to have proclaimed "Solomon, I have surpassed thee!". Justinian himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years up until the completion of the cathedral in Seville. It is today the fourth largest cathedral in the world (by size, not height)
 

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)
 

 

 


A plan of the original architecture of Hagia Sophia.

 

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

 

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

 

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

 


Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

 

 

 

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

 

 

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople (532-37)

 

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