Art6 Essay, Research Paper

Byzantine Architecture

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A assorted manner, i.e. a manner composed of Graeco-Roman and Oriental elements which, in earlier centuries, can non be clearly separated. The signifier of the church used most in the West, a nave supported on columns and an atrium ( see BASILICA ) , appears in many illustrations of the 5th century in Byzantium every bit good as in Rome ; the 6th century saw such churches erected in other parts outside Rome, at Ravenna, in Istria, and in Africa. In the West this manner of constructing on occasion nowadayss ( in S. Lorenzo and S. Agnes at Rome ) distinctive features which are ascribed by some governments to Oriental beginning & # 8212 ; galleries over the side aisles, spirally channelled columns, and customss between capitals and arches. Vaulted basilicas are to be found at an early day of the month in Asia Minor, Syria, Africa and besides at Constantinople. But the early Etruscans and Romans were adept in the art of building vaults, even before that clip ; for case, the basilica of Constantine. The domical manner, with barrel-vaulted side aisles and transepts is a favorite with the Orientals ; many of the oldest basilicas in Asia Minor, every bit good as the Church of St. Irene, Constantinople ( 8th century ) , carried one or more domes. This type leads of course to the construction in a centralised & # 8212 ; round, octangular, cruciform & # 8212 ; program. That the Orient had, and still has, a curious penchant for such a type is good known ; however, Italy besides possessed ecclesiastical edifices so planned, of which the oldest illustrations belong to the 4th and 5th centuries ( Sta. Costanza, a round edifice ; and the baptismal font of the Lateran, an octangular edifice ) . In ancient Roman times tombs and baths had this kind of program. The indispensable type of all these edifices can non, hence, be regarded as strictly Oriental, or even specifically Byzantine. There are similar expostulations in the instance of low-level architectural inside informations. Thus the apsis, sometimes trilateral, sometimes polygonal, the narthex ( a narrow anteroom, or anteroom, alternatively of the big rectangular atrium, the invariable facing of the church to the E, the sharp-cut acanthus foliage of the capitals, and similar features of the Eastern churches can non be decidedly ascribed to the East entirely or even to Byzantium, nor do they organize a new architectural manner. Some governments, it is true, non merely travel so far as to qualify the architecture of Ravenna ( exemplified in the two churches S. Apollinare and S. Vitale ) as Byzantine, but even include, without farther consideration, illustrations which in other respects recall the favorite Eastern manner, viz. the cardinal parts of S. Lorenzo at Milan and of the unit of ammunition church of S. Stefano Rotondo at Rome. Merely this much is certain: that in those early centuries local diversenesss are found everyplace ; and that, even although Italy may hold received the most multiplex influences from the East, and peculiarly from Byzantium, still, on the other manus, the linguistic communication, Torahs, and imposts of Rome prevailed in Byzantium, or at least were strongly represented at that place.

In the church, now the mosque, of St. Sophia ( Hagia Sophia & # 8212 ; & # 8220 ; Divine Wisdom & # 8221 ; ) , built by Justinian, all the chief signifiers of the early Christian churches are represented. A rotunda is enclosed in a square, and covered with a dome which is supported in the way of the long axis of the edifice by half-domes over semicircular apsiss. In this mode a basilica, 236 pess long and 98 pess broad, and provided with domes, is developed out of a great cardinal chamber. This basilica is still more drawn-out by the add-on of smaller apsiss perforating the larger apsiss. Then the domical church is developed to the signifier of a long rectangle by agencies of two side aisles, which, nevertheless, are deprived of their significance by the invasion of monolithic wharfs. In forepart of all this, on the entryway side, are placed a broad atrium with colonnaded transitions and two anterooms ( the exonarthex is practically obliterated ) . The colossal chief dome, which is hemispherical on the inside, flatter, or saucer-shaped, on the outside, and pierced with 40 big Windowss over the valance at its spring, has its sidelong push taken up by these half domes and, north and south, by arched buttresses ; the perpendicular push is received by four wharfs 75 pess high. The ancient system of column and entablature has here merely a subsidiary significance, back uping the galleries which open upon the nave. Light flows in through the legion Windowss of the upper and lower narratives and of the domes. But above all, the dome, with its great span carried on wharfs, arches, and pendentives, constitutes one of the greatest accomplishments of architecture. ( These pendentives are the triangular surfaces by agencies of which a round dome can be supported on the acmes of four arches arranged on a square program. ) In other respects the baptismal font of Sta. Costanza at Rome, for illustration, with its cylindrical membranophone under the dome, has the advantage that the Windowss are placed in the membranophone alternatively of the dome.

The designers of St. Sophia were Asians: Anthemius of Tralles and Isodorus of Miletus. In other great basilicas, as here, local influences had great power in determinin

g the character of the architecture, e. g. the churches of the Nativity, of the Holy Sepulchre, and of the Ascension, built in Palestine after the clip of Constantine. This is still more apparent in the dearly-won ornaments of these churches. The Oriental love of luster is shown in the stacking up of domes and still more in confronting the walls with slabs of marble, in mosaics ( either musical composition sectile, little pieces, or musical composition Alexandrinum, big slabs cut in suited forms ) , in gold and coloring material ornaments, and in the many-coloured marbles of the columns and other architectural inside informations. Nothing, nevertheless, seems to bewray the basically Oriental character of Byzantine architecture so much as the absence of work in the higher signifiers of sculpture, and the transmutation of high into low ornament by agencies of interlacing traceries, in which the chiselled decorations became flatter, more additive, and lacelike. Besides the anterooms which originally surrounded St. Sophia, the columns with their capitals recall the old-timer. These columns about constantly supported arches alternatively of the architrave and were, for that ground, reinforced by a block of rock ( impost block ) placed on top and shaped to conform to the arch, as may often be seen at Ravenna. Gradually, nevertheless, the capital itself was cut to the broader signifier of a abbreviated square pyramid, as in St. Sophia. The capitals are at times rather bare, when they serve at the same clip as customss or intermediate supporting blocks, at other times they are marked with monograms or covered with a web of carving, the latter transforming them into basketlike capitals. Flat ornamentations of flowers and animate beings are besides found, or leaves randomly arranged. Much of this reminds one of the Romanesque manner, but the inside informations are done more carefully. The fortresslike character of the church edifices, the crisp look of the constructive signifiers, the chunky visual aspect of the domes, the bare grouping of many parts alternatively of their organic connection — these are all more in conformity with the coarser work of the ulterior period than with the elegance of the Greek. Two other types of Justinian’s clip are presented by the renovated church of the Apostles and the church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus. Both churches are in the capital. The latter somewhat resembles S. Vitale in Ravenna. It is a dome-crowned octagon with an exterior aisle. The former church ( now destroyed ) was built on the program of a Grecian Cross ( with four equal weaponries ) with a dome over the crossing and one over each arm.

During the period of the Macedonian emperors, Basil I ( 867-886 ) and Leo VI ( 886-912 ) , an upward tendency in political relations, literature, and art set in. The Grecian basilica, which is a elongated construction, barrel-vaulted and provided with one or more domes, is besides widely represented in this period, while the western signifier of basilica, with the wooden ceiling, is wholly discarded. A type looking more often is the domical church program or the Greek-cross program. The Koimesis, or Dormitio, in Nicaea ( 9th century ) has a clear basilica program. This is besides true of the church of the Holy Mother of God ( Hagia Theotokos ) at Constantinople, dating from the 10th century, and of the churches of Mt. Athos. The church at Skripu in Boeotia, of the same period, has so three naves each stoping in an apsis, but the dome crowns the center of the edifice as in the Greek- cross type. The outsides of these churches, which are normally instead little, are treated with greater attention and are artistically elaborated with alternations of rock and brick, smaller domes over the anterooms, a unquestionably richer system of domes, and the lift of these domes by agencies of membranophones. The insides are decorated most splendidly. It seems that they could non make plenty in this regard. This can still be seen in the church of St. Luke in Phocis, at Daphni, in the Nea Moni at Chio, and others. In this period the perfected art of the capital becomes the theoretical account for the imperium every bit good as for parts beyond its boundary lines: Syria, Armenia, Russia, Venice, Middle and Southern Italy, and Sicily. For the West, it is merely necessary to advert the church of St. Mark at Venice ( 978-1096 ) .

After its business by the Crusaders ( 1204 ) , Constantinople partially lost its character and at the same clip the far-reaching influence of its intercourse with Western states. There still remained four Centres of Byzantine art: the capital itself, Mt. Athos, Hellas, and Trebizond. The architecture of Mt. Athos presents the most faithful contemplation of the Byzantine manner. The theoretical account of the church of the monastery of Laura, belonging to the old period, is more or less dependably reproduced. A dome, supported on four sides by barrel vaults, stands straight over the center of the transept, which is terminated at either terminal by a unit of ammunition apsis. A narthex, or instead two lead into the elongated chief hall. The existent architectural decorations are forced into the background by the frescoes which take the topographic point of the dearly-won mosaics and which practically cover all available wall surface. The architecture of this period remained stationary. It continued unchanged in the states of the Greek Rite after the autumn of Constantinople ( 1453 ) .

G. GIETMANN

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