Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Byzantine art

 The mosaics in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. These images was covered with whitewash when it became a mosques under the Ottoman Turks. Later they were cleaned up of its whitewash and the church was turned into a museum. Today it is the Hagia Sophia museum. The building is cavernous and really impressive, almost as impressive as when Emperor Justinian built it.
 Ottoman script was added to the Hagia Sophia when it was a mosque. It still remains today.
 An angel with four wings, Ezekiel Chapter one, two wings are spread out and touching the wings of the other angels, two wings cover the body.... an artist interpretation of the vision in Ezekiel Chapter.
 The wonderful mosaics at St Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, another church built by Emperor Justinian. This has always been a church and the mosaics are still as brilliant as ever. It was built at around the same time as the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, then Constantinople.

 The emperor...
 His wife....
 Another artist's interpretation of the vision in Ezekiel chapter one. Unless one comes here and see this, one would not know that this fresco actually adorns the inside of a cave church in Cappadocia.

The angel again, it should have only four wings, looks like it has six here. One can see the wheel of fire in which dwells the Spirit. When the spirit moves, it moves..... The Orthodox church today would deny that this is art, it is not, they are for the instruction of the uneducated congregants in their day. Today we can read the Bible and we regard this as Byzantine art and what wonderful art they are. This and so many other Byzantine churches tell a similar story. I remember the churches in Palermo, in Cefalu, Sicily, all filled with wonderful mosaics of Bible stories.

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