Time for a little history class…
Byzantine art takes it name from Byzantium, the Greek city on the Bosporus of which Constantine the Great made a capital in A.D 324. For the next 1, 100 years, Constantinople was the center of the Greek civilization that produced Byzantine art. Signs of a forthcoming plastic revolution idea occur before the foundation of Constantinople, such as the four porphyry emperors set in an outer wall of S. Mark’s at Venice whose simple planes bring out the quality of the material with a new technique. But it is characteristic of the transitional period that these figures are still scowling and it was only after Constantinople had received its name that the imperial semblance itself was composed in accordance with the new aesthetic principles.
Regard for the material and stylization by simplifying outline and color are characteristics of the Byzantine art. And, staging a home with such fine traditional art is bound to attract homeowners like metals to magnets.
Colored marbles are widely used; mosaics composed of glass cubes enrich wall surfaces; translucent enamel; pearls and cabochon stones are set in the mount; colored and figured silks appear in drapes and curtains. The Byzantine art contrives to look fresh and living, even in a modern setting.
Glass mosaics are used to decorate upper walls and vaults of the ecclesiastical interior to become a flat surface of color, symmetrically adorned. This tendency may be observed in the 5th century, eliminating what remains of the classical mosaic technique; in the 6th it triumphs.
If you want to reflect more the 4th and 5th centuries, adorn your house with colors such as green, blue and gold. However, if you want the 5th and 6th centuries to dominate, choose colors like purple, white or gold.
Wall mosaics are strongly recommended, especially given the fact that they were extensively used during the 5th and 6th centuries (those representing Justinian and Theodora were particularly well known).
The principles of Byzantine art say that the floor, like all the other surfaces of a building, should be treated as part of the composition. So, taking that into consideration, the color scheme of the mosaic pavement of your interiors should be duller than that of the surfaces above; earthly browns and yellows are enlivened by black and white or by red and green and rarely, as at Aquileia, by a few tesserae of colored glass. On this same pavement can be set great white cubes of bases from which rise columns of grey-green cipollino, red porphyry or dark green Verde Antico.
Lower walls can be wainscoted with slabs of similar marbles, to which can be added red cipollino and other marbles, the veins of which are disposed of in symmetrical designs.
Doors can also be plated with bronze and enriched with silver inlay.
Small and minimalist figures underlie the sculpture throughout the history of Byzantine art.
Placing small figures among the architectural ornament of doors and windows will show a more local and exquisite manner with a predilection for the nude treated in a rather loose spirit. Back then, wood and ivory-carving were also used to show the wealth of this decorative motive.
The Color Scheme
Combining blue tones with red, hues adorned in tawny yellow – it has been supposed that this rather simple scheme of color is characteristic of Constantinople and that brighter and more varied hues mark Alexandrian manufacture. However, somber colors can also be incorporated in small quantities.
Is it the first time you have heard of something called “Byzantine art?” However, if this has somehow fascinated you, do you want to learn more about how to stage your home with ancient Byzantine art?