Pictures of Byzantine art with images of Byzantine mosaics & frescos from Greece, Turkey, Sicily & Italy.
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The term can also be used for the art of Eastern Orthodoxy and the art of iconography that still exists today in modern Orthodox art largely unchanged since the fall of Constantinople.
The subject matter of monumental Byzantine art was primarily religious and imperial: the two themes are often combined, as in the portraits of later Byzantine emperors that decorated the interior of the sixth-century church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
One of the most important genres of Byzantine art was the icon, an image of Christ, the Virgin, or a saint, used as an object of veneration in Orthodox churches and private homes alike. Icons were more religious than aesthetic in nature and they were understood to manifest the unique "presence" of the figure depicted by means of a "likeness" to that figure.
Jews & Muslims ban the representation of God as sacrilegious as it falls foul of the second commandment foreboding the worship of false idols. The Orthodox church allows paintings & mosaics but bans any 3 dimensional sculptures of religious subjects which are allowed the the Catholic Church. The whole question of the veneration of Icons caused civil war when they were banned from 726-730 by the Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian. Known as Byzantine Iconoclasm the ban was deeply unpopular with the Byzantines and an offence to the Roman Catholics who ignored it. The rigid adherence to the rules of Iconic representation has led to a stilted religious art form that has remained unchanged in Orthodoxy for 1500 years unlike western religious art that flourished to a higher level during the Renaissance with humanist representations of Christ & the Saints.
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