Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Early Christian into Byzantine Hagia Sofia



Byzantine Art
Time Line
Beginning of Pagan Roman Empire- 200 B.C.E.
Roman Empire- 200 B.C.- 315 C.E.
Early Christian/Byzantine 315-750 C.E  (some sources say the Byzantine style survived all the way to 1450)
Romanesque 800-1150 C.E.
Gothic 1150-1350 C.E.

For all the videos in order with a textbook and study guides please visit:
https://www.udemy.com/user/kenneymencher/




Hagia Sophia (Sofia) 532-37
architects: Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus
Istanbul, Turkey (Byzantium)
Byzantine
Form:  This is a central-plan design that expands on the original basilican design.  The design incorporates the use of pendentives, buttressing half domes, and arch and dome technology creating a large many storied central area.  Expands on the concept, engineering and design function of the Pantheon by adding cross vaulting technology that the Romans had developed. A good example of this cross vaulting technology is in the Basilica of Constantine. Decorative forms (in terms of two-dimensional designs) inside the Hagia Sofia reflect early Byzantine Style, which means that even up to the 1300's they are still using many of the same things in the Hagia Sofia to depict people.
Iconography: The name Hagia Sofia can be translated as "Holy Wisdom."  The plan has the form of a Greek cross surmounted by a dome which as in the Pantheon is a symbol of the dome of heaven.  The engineering used is also symbolic of the power and intelligence of Constantine's empire.
Context:  The geographic location of Hagia Sofia places it in the region of Byzantium. The city where they moved the empire to is called Constantinople that is in modern day Turkey, and is also now called Istanbul. The four minarets that surround it were built later.  They were added by the Muslims to them to call the faithful to worship after the church was transformed into a mosque. A mosque is an Islamic place of worship. The ornamentation of the interior is Islamic looking.
For more details of images at Hagia Sofia go here.



Capital, Hagia Sophia (Sofia) 532-37
architects: Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus
Istanbul, Turkey (Byzantium)
Byzantine
Form:  This capital at first appears to be an almost Corinthian capital but on closer inspection it is the correction of the original Greek and Roman orders.  The designs on the capital are much more ornate and less solid looking then its predecessors.  The over all intricate organic patterning and weaving of the ornamentation is abstract and overly ornate. Iconography:  The organic vine like qualities refer to the symbol of Christianity as a vine that keeps spreading.   In the center of the column is the monogram or initials for Justinian the emperor who commissioned the structure.  The use of classical ornamentation and then the obvious changing of it is symbolic of the fusion of the Roman and Greek classic ideals wedded to the culture and decorative forms of the east as well as the iconography of Christianity.
The symbology of the vine relates to many images of vines in the Old and New Testament:
John
Chapter 15
1
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
2
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
3
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
4
Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.
5
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
6
Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.
Go here for a Catholic Sermon on the iconography of vines: http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/jn15v1.html
 


Mosaic of Christ from the interior of
Hagia Sophia
created c 1300
For all the videos in order with a textbook and study guides please visit:
https://www.udemy.com/user/kenneymencher/
Form:  Decorative forms (in terms of two-dimensional designs) inside the Hagia Sofia reflect early Byzantine Style, which means that even up to the 1300's they are still using many of the same things in the Hagia Sofia to depict people. The figures are stylized in a typical Byzantine mode.  The heads are too large and the bodies are covered completely with drapery that does not reveal the anatomy beneath.   It also shares some elements from the Arch of Constantine, the heads are big and there's no Contrapposto (liberal movement in figures).  The facial anatomy is stylized.  The face is also elongated and the nose meets the bridge of the brows and the eyebrows actually go directly into the nose.  These are some of the elements that become standardized in Byzantine Manuscript
Iconography:  The distortions of the anatomy are symbolic.  The distortions and diagrammatic and cartoon like drapery deemphasizes the figure's naturalism and emphasizes the spiritual, intellectual and didactic aspects of the figures.  Jesus is represented as a teacher and his weapon against evil is the Holy Bible or Libris Mundi (Latin: "book of the world") and his compassion.
Jesus is also surrounded by a halo which symbolizes an aura of light.  Possibly meant to be literally a symbol of "enlightenment."  Inscribed inside the halo is the cross on which Jesus was martyred and on either side of the cross are his initials IC XC.  Basically it is an acronim for his name in Greek.  The acronym when promounced sounds like "ichthys" which sounds very much like the Greek word for fish.  Hence the fish symbols on either side of his head.


Context:  The Byzantine style, although centered around the geographic region of Constantine's Byzantium, expands all through out the Christian world.  It was used for manuscript and church art throughout France, Italy, Spain and the rest of Europe well into the 1400's and perhaps even later.   As an artistic style it is used well into the Romanesque and Gothic periods.  Even during the Renaissance there are still artists who use Byzantine drapery and facial stylization.
For more details of images at Hagia Sofia go here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you are posting a story, please make sure you read the conditions of the contest on my website.
http://www.kenney-mencher.com/flash_fiction_competition.htm