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ARTH401: Early Christian and Byzantine Art

Unit 4: Art of the Late Byzantine Period (1204-1453+)   In this final unit, we will turn to the Late Byzantine Period and its eventual demise.  Like the Middle Byzantine Period, the Late Byzantine Period was a time of resurgence.  After the sack of Constantinople, the empire was restored under the rule of the Paleologan Dynasty.  (The period is therefore often called the “Paleologan Renaissance.”)  The arts flourished both in Constantinople as well as in its many satellite regions, and especially in Russia.  The period was also marked by conflict as tensions between the Western (Catholic) Church and the Byzantine (Orthodox) Church grew.  The Byzantine Empire was simultaneously feeling the pressure from the Muslim East.  By 1453, the empire’s position was so precarious that it could not sustain its position, and the Ottoman Turks sacked Constantinople, marking the official end of the empire.  Although the Byzantine Empire ceased to exist from this date forward, its influence continued to be felt for centuries.  As the Italian Renaissance was in its infancy, artists borrowed from Byzantium’s rich tradition.  Further away, in the emerging Russian Empire, Byzantine art found a new home and a new culture.   

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 29.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4.2: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4.2.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.4.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Unit 4 Assignment: 5 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Identify Middle Byzantine works of art, being able to provide date of creation, artist, patron, medium, and culture.
  • Recognize those features (stylistic and iconographic) that are typical of the arts of the Late Byzantine period.
  • Explain and discuss the history of the Late Byzantine Empire.
  • Describe the significance and function of art in the Late Byzantine period.
  • Identify and discuss the sources of influence important for the development of Late Byzantine art.
  • Describe the techniques and materials used to create works of art in the Middle Byzantine period.
  • Explain the ways in which works of art reveal the social, religious, and political mores of Middle Byzantine culture.
  • Discuss the factors that contributed to the demise of Byzantium and explain what happened to Byzantine culture after the sack of Constantinople in 1453.

4.1 Introduction to Late Byzantine Art and History   - Reading: Artopos Online Cultural Center: Myriobiblos Library: Charles Diehl's "Byzantine Art" Link: Artopos Online Cultural Center: Myriobiblos Library: Charles Diehl's "Byzantine Art" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the last section of this text.  You should start reading with the paragraph that begins "From the end of the twelfth century one can observe . . ." and read through to the end of the text on this webpage.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above

  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation's "Late Byzantine Architecture" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Late Byzantine Architecture" (PDF)

    Instructions: Please read the information linked above in its entirety.

4.2 Late Byzantine Architecture   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Late Byzantine Architecture,” Columbia University: The Medieval Architecture Online Teaching Project: Professor Ousterhout’s “Kariye Camii” and Columbia University: The Medieval Architecture Online Teaching Project: Kariye Camii: “Pictorial Decoration: Sequence & Style” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Late Byzantine Architecture,” (PDF) Columbia University: The Medieval Architecture Online Teaching Project: Italy, Rome: Professor Ousterhout’s “Kariye Camii” (HTML) and Columbia University: The Medieval Architecture Online Teaching Project: “Kariye Camii: Pictorial Decoration: Sequence & Style” (HTML)
 
Instructions: First read the Saylor Foundation’s introduction to late Byzantine architecture.  Then read the “Kariye Camii” webpage in its entirety, selecting each of the pages from the drop-down menu “Click to explore” and reading those respective pages as well.  For all of these pages, be sure to click on the embedded images to see larger versions of those images. On the “Pictorial Decoration” webpage, click “view image” after each discussion.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3 Painting in the Late Byzantine Period   - Reading: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557): Publications for Educators: Explore and Learn: Themes in Late Byzantine Art: “Visual Expressions of the Faith: Painted Icons,” Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Annie Labatt’s “Frescoes and Wall Painting in Late Byzantine Art,” Qantara, Mediterranean Heritage: “Enthroned Madonna and Child (Kahn Madonna Links: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557): Publications for Educators: Explore and Learn: Themes in Late Byzantine Art: “Visual Expressions of the Faith: Painted Icons;” (HTML) Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Annie Labatt’s “Frescoes and Wall Painting in Late Byzantine Art;” (HTML) Qantara, Mediterranean Heritage: “Enthroned Madonna and Child (Kahn Madonna)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of each webpage.  In “Visual Expressions of the Faith: Painted Icons,” be sure to click “next” at the bottom of the page, in order to read all six pages in this section.  On the “Frescoes and Wall Painting in Late Byzantine Art” webpage, click on the cited images, viewing all eight images and their identifying information.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: Smarthistory: Pippa Couch and Rachel Ropeik’s “Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy” Link: Smarthistory: Pippa Couch and Rachel Ropeik’s “Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entirety of this brief video lecture (7 minutes).
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.4 Byzantium’s Legacy   - Lecture: Yale University: Paul H. Freedman’s HIST 210: The Early Middle Ages, 284 - 1000 “The Splendor of Byzantium” Link: Yale University: Paul H. Freedman’s HIST 210: The Early Middle Ages, 284 - 1000 “The Splendor of Byzantium” (HTML)
 
Instructions: View this lecture. It surveys the history of the Byzantine Empire from the 6th to the 11th centuries. You may also read a transcript of the lecture here.
 
Terms of Use: These resources are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license. They are attributed to Yale University and the original versions can be found here.

4.4.1 Islam   - Reading: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557): Publications for Educators: Explore and Learn: Themes in Late Byzantine Art: “The Byzantine Sphere and the Islamic World” and Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Annie Labatt and Charlotte Appleyard’s “Byzantine Art under Islam” Link: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557): Publications for Educators: Explore and Learn: Themes in Late Byzantine Art: “The Byzantine Sphere and the Islamic World” (HTML) and Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Annie Labatt and Charlotte Appleyard’s “Byzantine Art under Islam” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of “The Byzantine Sphere and Islamic World” section of “Themes in Late Byzantine Art” for an overview of the interaction between Byzantium and the Islamic world.  Be sure to click “next” at the bottom of the text to see all four of the pages in this section.  For “Byzantine Art under Islam,” read the text and then click on each of the images at the top of the page for a discussion of specific works of art.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

4.4.2 The West   4.4.2.1 General Overview   - Reading: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Annie Labatt’s “The Religious Relationship between Byzantium and the West;” and Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Jennifer Meagher’s “Italian Painting of the Later Middle Ages” Links: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Annie Labatt’s “The Religious Relationship between Byzantium and the West;” (HTML) and Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Jennifer Meagher’s “Italian Painting of the Later Middle Ages;” (HTML) 
 
Instructions: Please read all of “The Religious Relationship between Byzantium and the West” and “Italian Painting of the Later Middle Ages,” and then click on each of the images at the top of the page for a discussion of specific works of art.  Be sure to click “next” at the bottom of the text to see all five of the pages in this section.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

4.4.2.2 Works of Art   - Reading: Qantara, Mediterranean Heritage: “The Crucifixion” Links: Qantara, Mediterranean Heritage: “The Crucifixion” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage and view the slideshow for larger images and details of this work of art.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Lecture: Smarthistory: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker’s “Berlinghieri’s St. Francis Altarpiece” Link: Smarthistory: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker’s “Berlinghieri’s St. Francis Altarpiece” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch this brief video lecture (7 minutes) for a discussion of one of the most important Proto-Renaissance works of art painted in the Byzantine style.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: National Gallery of Art: Collection: Paintings: Italian Painting of the 13th-14th Centuries: “Tour: Byzantine Art and Painting in Italy during the 1200s and 1300s” Link: National Gallery of Art: Collection: Paintings: Italian Painting of the 13th-14th Centuries: “Tour: Byzantine Art and Painting in Italy during the 1200s and 1300s”  (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the “Overview” page.  Then, click “Start Tour” to see a selection of images and to read a description of each of these images.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

4.4.3 Russia   4.4.3.1 History   - Reading: The New York Public Library: Russia Engage the World, 1453-1825: History: “1453-1584: Moscow Becomes the ‘Third Rome’” Link: The New York Public Library: Russia Engage the World, 1453-1825: History: “1453-1584: Moscow Becomes the ‘Third Rome’” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage for an introduction to Russian history after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople.  When you have finished reading the text, please click on the two images, “Russian Manuscript Illumination” and “Gospels for a Russian National Saint?” for a discussion of two works of art from this period.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

4.4.3.2 Icons   - Lecture: Smarthistory: Pippa Couch and Rachel Ropeik’s “Icon of Saint George (the ‘Black George’)” Link: Smarthistory: Pippa Couch and Rachel Ropeik’s “Icon of Saint George (the ‘Black George’)” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please watch the entirety of this brief embedded video lecture (4 minutes) for a discussion of this Russian icon.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Rollins College: Russian Painting: Dr. Alexander Boguslawski’s “Icon Painting” and “Icons: The Holy Trinity” Links: Rollins College: Russian Painting: Dr. Alexander Boguslawski’s  “Icon Painting” (PDF) and “Icons: The Holy Trinity” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read both readings in their entirety.  Clearer, larger views of the paintings are included after the text.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Alexander Boguslawski.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

Unit 4 Assignment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 4 Writing Assessment: Discussion of the Fate of Byzantine Art” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 4 Writing Assessment: Discussion of the Fate of Byzantine Art
 
Instructions: Please carefully read through the assessment overview and instructions and view all required images and reading assignments to complete this assessment.  When you are done, check your work against The Saylor Foundation’s “Guide to Responding to Assessment 4.”