Byzantine art is the artistic products of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire, as well as the nations and states that inherited culturally from the empire. Though the empire itself emerged from Rome's decline and lasted until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, many Eastern Orthodox states in Eastern Europe, as well as to some degree the Muslim states of the easternMediterranean, preserved many aspects of the empire's culture and art for centuries afterward. A number of states contemporary with the Byzantine Empire were culturally influenced by it, without actually being part of it (the "Byzantine commonwealth"), such as Bulgaria, Serbia, and the Rus, as well as some non-Orthodox states the Republic of Venice and Kingdom of Sicily, which had close ties to the Byzantine Empire despite being in other respects part of western European culture. Art produced by Eastern Orthodox Christians living in the Ottoman Empire is often called "post-Byzantine." Certain artistic traditions that originated in the Byzantine Empire, particularly in regard to icon painting and church architecture, are maintained in Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria,Russia and other Eastern Orthodox countries to the present day. Just as the Byzantine Empire represented the political continuation of the Roman Empire, Byzantine art developed out of the art of the Roman Empire, which was itself profoundly influenced by ancient Greek art. Byzantine art never lost sight of this classical heritage. The Byzantine capital, Constantinople, was adorned with a large number of classical sculptures,although they eventually became an object of some puzzlement for its inhabitants. And indeed, the art produced during the Byzantine Empire, although marked by periodic revivals of a classical aesthetic, was above all marked by the development of a new aesthetic. The most salient feature of this new aesthetic was its “abstract,” or anti-naturalistic character. If classical art was marked by the...
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