Byzantine art

“If the purpose of classical art was the glorification of man,
the purpose of Byzantine art was the glorification of God”

“Icons are not ordinary paintings.
They are supposed to remind us of the temporarity of life on earth
and how to live in a Christian way to win the eternal life.”

The main reason I am interested in Byzantine art is because it is universally accepted in sign language. It is impossible not to recognize the connotation of any of the paintings above. Incorporating certain elements and visual strategies in my work will help establish a stronger connection with the audience and what I want to say.

The stongest elements I’ve noticed:

Color: Colors in Byzantine art are exceptionally bright and gold is always dominant. Additionaly, colors are often associated with figures. For instance, Christ’s clothing is usually depicted as green and red. While I can’t remember the exact reason behind that, the important thing is that they are used as symbolisms.

Pattern/Texture: The most common pattern is the mosaic, one I’m not sure I want to implement, but it is undeniable that it cries out Byzantium. Icon art is commonly painted on wood, which is what gives it this interesting texture.

Geometry: One of its most interesting elements, the geometry used is intentionally non-Euclidean because, as quoted above, the focus was not on the physical but the spiritual. Byzantine artists were trying to capture the divine and concepts that transcend human limitations. For instance, a saint might be depicted as someone who is both on earth but also on heaven and that is accomplished through distorted perspectives that might even appear hostile to the eye. I find this quite interesting and I will be exploring ways in which I can use this kind of geometry as a way of symbolism.

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