Mandorla: an almond-shaped enclosure encircling depictions of Christ.
Mosaic: patterns or pictures made by embedding small pieces (tesserae) of stone or glass in cement on surfaces such as walls and floors.
A unit on Byzantine art allows for an engaging examination of the monumental transition from the peak artistic production of the Roman Empire to the great artistic commissions of the Middle Ages.
Beginning with Constantine the Great’s creation of the new capital of Byzantium shortly before his death in 337 CE, this lesson traces the evolution of Byzantine art from its Early Christian explorations through its peak years of artistic and architectural production, and finally to its eventual decline. Background reading/viewing for this unit could include either or both of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s pages on Byzantine art or Byzantium.
From its dedication in 360 CE to the Nika Revolt of 532 CE, which proved to be the most violent week of rioting in city’s history, the Hagia Sophia was destroyed twice and rebuilt once, reflecting the symbolic power this religious structure held in its relation not only to Christianity but also to the city of Constantinople.
One of Justinian I’s first building campaigns following the Nika Revolt was to rebuild this cathedral.
An example of one of these secluded sites of early Christian worship can be found in Rome’s Catacomb of Saints Peter and Marcellinus, which has imagery painted in its cubiculum, or small rooms, such as a fourth-century painting of the Good Shepherd, Orants, and Story of Jonah This scene reveals the potential of syncretism, wherein early Christians borrowed prevalent or popular imagery from earlier cultures and translated it into new images with Christian messages. Her book, 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy...And How to Avoid Them, was named one of the top 10 most notable business books by the New York Post in 2007. This monumental sculpture once prominently stood in the Basilica Nova, also known as the Basilica of Maxentius (c. This Basilica Nova was erected in the heart of the ancient Roman Forum and took on the function of a law court.The structure’s architectural footprint of the basilica would eventually become the basic template for future Christian churches.