4 Tutorials that teach Byzantine Art and Architecture
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Byzantine Art and Architecture

Byzantine Art and Architecture

Author: Erin Aldana

This lesson will provide an introduction to the art and architecture of the Byzantine Empire.

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Byzantine map, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Justinian555AD.png, squinch, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abbatiale_Conques_Tour_Lanterne.JPG, Interior of Hagia Sophia, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Istanbul.Hagia_Sophia021.jpg, dome of Hagia Sophia, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hagia_Sophia_-_coupole.jpg, diagram of Hagia Sophia, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hagia-Sophia-Laengsschnitt.jpg, diagram of the Pantheon, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pante%C3%B3n_de_Roma_alzado.jpg, Exterior of San Vitale, Ravenna, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basilica_of_San_Vitale,_Ravenna,_Italy.jpg, Interior of San Vitale, Ravenna, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emilia_Ravenna5_tango7174.jpg , plan of San Vitale, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Byggnadskonsten,_San_Vitale_i_Ravenna,_Nordisk_familjebok.png, Justinian mosaic, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Meister_von_San_Vitale_in_Ravenna_003.jpg, Theodora mosaic, San Vitale, Ravenna, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Theodora_mosaik_ravenna.jpg, Reverse perspective, Public Domain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ac.byzantine1.gif, Image of Christ Pantokrator, Church of the Dormition, Daphni, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Meister_von_Daphni_002.jpg

Terms to Know

A term referencing the Byzantine Empire, a style of art developed during the Byzantine Empire characterized by religious iconography, very formal, shallow pictorial space and rich colors.


A Greek city rebuilt by Constantine in 330 AD and renamed Constantinople.


Refers to a specific Christian iconography; icon image of Christ understood in Greek as “ruler of all.”


An architectural term; a construction that allows the placement of the circular dome over a rectangular room.

Picture Plane

The invisible plane that corresponds to the surface of the painting, the picture plane is like a window opening out onto another world.

Reverse Perspective

Also called Byzantine perspective where lines of vanishing points diverge outside the picture plane or outside a painting.


An architecture term; a small arch, or corbelling built across the interior between two walls as a support in a square tower.