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The opulence of Byzantine art with its extravagant use of gold and silver is well known. Highly skilled artists created powerful representations reflecting and promoting this society and its values in icons, illuminated manuscripts, and mosaics and wallpaintings placed in domed churches and public buildings. This complete introduction to the whole period and range of Byzantine art combines immense breadth with interesting historical detail. Robin Cormack overturns the myth that Byzantine art remained constant from the inauguration of Constantinople, its artistic centre, in the year 330 until the fall of the city to the Ottomans in 1453. He shows how the many political and religious upheavals of this period produced a wide range of styles and developments in art. 127 illustrations with 82 in colour. Invaluable guides to international museums, galleries, and websites.
Mostly religious in function, but preserving the classicism of Greco-Roman art, Byzantine buildings and art objects communicate the purity and certainties of the public face of early Christian art. Focusing on the art of Constantinople between 330 and 1453, this book probes the underlying motives and attitudes of the society which produced such rich and delicate art forms. It examines the stages this art went through as the city progressed from being the Christian center of the Eastern Roman Empire, to its crisis during attack from the new religion of Islam, to its revived medieval splendor and then, after the Latin capture of 1204 and the Byzantine reoccupation after 1261, to its arrival at a period of cultural reconciliation with East and West.
Robin Cormack is Professor in the History of Art in the University of London, and Deputy Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art. Previous books are Writing in Gold and Painting the Soul (Runciman Award 1998).
handbook of Byzantine art for both lay readers and specialists."--Annabel Wharton, Duke University
"The reader is left with a powerful impression of how the Byzantines themselves must have looked upon the art that surrounded them."--David Buckton, The British Museum
"Because Byzantine art portrays a society in change, defining the period is a big undertaking....The book's organization lends to its accessibility; Cormack breaks down the era's political and social developments, revealing their complexity, and time lines and sidebars make the topic more approachable....The list of Internet links to museums with Byzantine art collections will be very useful for students."--Library Journal