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Byzantine (Christian) and Islamic art  was about religious expression, but not as we think of it today.  During this period, religious expression was almost completely controlled by the church and therefore very uniform and consistent in their depictions and were less an expression of the artist's personal ideals.

Domes were a central part of this period as well a flat, frontal facing poses.  Many of the figures had large, peering eyes and were placed on a gold background to give the look/feel that the image was somewhat suspended in mid air between the wall and the viewer.

Did you know?

The ideals and characteristics of the Byzantine period disappeared after the fall of Constantine XI and Constantinople was renamed Istanbul.

Sound like a song you once heard?  Here's why:

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Below is some basic information on Byzantine (Christian)-Islamic and its characteristics and influences. If you would like to print off a copy of this page along with samples of art from this period, you can download the Byzantine-Islamic Summary above.

Quick Facts:
  • Art to glorify religion and spiritual symbolism

  • Showed what we can not see (heaven and spiritual world)

  • Byzantine Art was totally flat – one dimensional, no perspective, no shadows

Characteristics and/or Types of Art:
  • Mosaics, icons and frescoes

  • Architecture and painting (not sculptures)

  • Shift from Greco-Roman gods to Christianity

  • Art of the Near East (art for decoration and use of glowing colors)

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