AP®︎/College Art History
- Introduction to the middle ages
- Christianity, an introduction for the study of art history
- Architecture and liturgy
- The life of Christ in medieval and Renaissance art
- A New Pictorial Language: The Image in Early Medieval Art
- Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome
- Basilica of Santa Sabina, Rome
- Santa Sabina
- Jacob wrestling the angel, Vienna Genesis
- Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, Vienna Genesis
- A beginner's guide to Byzantine Art
- San Vitale, Ravenna
- Justinian Mosaic, San Vitale
- Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
- Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
- Theotokos mosaic, apse, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
- Hagia Sophia as a mosque
- Deësis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
- Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George
- The Lindisfarne Gospels
- The Lindisfarne Gospels
- The Bayeux Tapestry
- The Bayeux Tapestry - Seven Ages of Britain - BBC One
- Church and Reliquary of Sainte‐Foy, France
- Chartres Cathedral
- Bible moralisée (moralized bibles)
- Saint Louis Bible (moralized bible)
- The Golden Haggadah
- Röttgen Pietà
- Röttgen Pietà
- Giotto, Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel (part 1)
- Giotto, Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel (part 2)
- Giotto, Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel (part 3)
- Giotto, Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel (part 4)
Powerful images played a big role in Byzantine Empire's religious history, leading to iconoclasm, a period of image destruction. Concerns arose that people worshiped images instead of the divine figures they represented. After iconoclasm ended, religious art, like the Virgin Mary mosaic in Hagia Sophia, reemerged to reaffirm the importance of images. Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
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- At3:35, the close-up of the cushions that Mary is sitting on reveals what appears to be symbols that resemble the SPADES founds in a deck of playing cards. What is the significance of these items? Are they somehow related to the spades we are familiar with through playing cards?(15 votes)
- How did the Theotokos mosaic survive the Ottoman conquest?(8 votes)
- While many of the images were covered over or chipped away, a possible explanation as to why the Theotokos survived can be found in a story from the life of Muhammad which may or may not be accurate. As the early Islamic army raided and pillaged a monastery, they were fulfilling what they saw as a Scriptural duty by destroying all the icons they found, however Muhammad himself was personally very moved by the Theotokos and Jesus icon that he ordered it spared. While this does not explain why the Hagia Sophia Theotokos survived, it does give a sense of how Muslims viewed Mary and her representation by Christians.(5 votes)
- @1:27They say that people were venerating the image itself, rather than that which the image represents. I had wondered if the same problem could be seen with people confusing the message with the messenger, as so many seem to get so focused on the messenger, they seem to loose sight of the message. Are these the same idea? or just similar? Thanks, T.S.(6 votes)
- Not really the same idea. Here's why:
Veneration is a lesser version of showing honor than worship. According to Byzantine thinking, only God is worshiped; saints and images can be venerated.
The idea of message and messenger is a little different. Byzantines recognized that images carry the 'form' of the image's object (i.e. the prototype). Symbols and messages do not have this similarity of form.
Imagine a picture of a loved one or a family member. The picture shares the features of the actual person. But the things this person wrote do not share these features - only a thought of that person that was written down.
However, bear in mind that the Byzantines also venerated their Gospel - so, in their case, yes, the message was also venerated.(1 vote)
- Iconoclasm is so weird. Blows my mind really.(3 votes)
- Religious revivalism in different places often comes with a "clean out the attic" movement. See Hindutva in India, Wahabism in Arabia, and the work of the Taliban in Afghanistan, for example. Each has its iconoclastic aspects. So also has Christian iconoclasm in places like the UK. Look at the carvings on the altar at Worchester Cathedral in England, which were hacked by the Roundheads in the 17th century. A more modern parallel may be found when a new leader comes to a local congregation of protestants in North America and goes through the parish library, discarding books accumulated over the past decades not because nobody looks at them, but because they are in conflict with this particular leader's ideas or doctrines.
Iconoclasm didn't just happen in the Orthodox world sometime long ago, it still happens today.(3 votes)
- How much were the details of the Hagia Sophia thought out? Was everything meant to be a symbol of something else?(2 votes)
- At4:17Dr Zucker pronounces Theotokos with the accent on the second syllable.
Isn't the word pronounced with the emphasis on the penult? No big deal, but I'm a language guy.(2 votes)
- Absolutely. They-oh-TOH-kos is the proper pronunciation. It is Greek for God-Bearer. Most-holy Theotokos, save us!(1 vote)
- Why did they believe in using the images as if they were the real thing they would be worshiping?(2 votes)
- They did not. During Iconoclasm they concluded that images and the 'real thing' are different. Therefore only the 'real thing' - God - can be worshiped, but not images.
However, because images shared the same form as the 'real thing,' some respect should be given to them as well... This kind of respect they call 'veneration' (not to be confused with worship).(1 vote)
- The Roman Empire was done at this time, right? Was banning images at this time more applied to the east? What about west (Italy and so on), this ban didn't apply at the same time?(1 vote)
- Rome did not place a ban on images, but the Libri Carolini (a manuscript put together under Charlemagne) spells out a negative view of images. In general, images were thought of by 'Westerners' as imperfect teaching tools for those who could not read.
By contrast, Byzantines emphasized the role of images as the more immediate connections between the viewer and the person being depicted in the image. Therefore, images enjoyed equal or even a higher status than words in the East. (See: The Sacred Image East and West by L. Brubaker and R. Ousterhout (1995)).(1 vote)
(music) Voiceover: Images are really powerful things and they're political as well and they figure in to the history of religion and the history of Christianity. Voiceover: The history of the Byzantine Empire very specifically. There was always tension in the Church about creating images of Christ, images of Mary, images of God. Voiceover: Well, if you think about it, God is the creator and then an artist is also creating, it's usurping, and so this was always a tricky issue. Voiceover: Icons, images of Mary, images of the saints, of Christ had become increasingly central in the Byzantine Empire and in worship. There was concern that people were infact worshiping the images instead of venerating them or respecting and using the images to pass through to the prototype to the Divine figure that was pictured in the image. In the 8th century, the emperor forbade the use of images in the Church. Voiceover: This begins a period of iconoclasm. Iconoclasm is a Greek word that means breaking images. There was real violence. We believe that virtually every image in the City of Constantinople was destroyed during this period. Voiceover: This lasted from the early 700s to the mid 800s. Voiceover: Question is, why? Why in the world were images seen as so destructive and so dangerous? Really it had to do with this concern that people were venerating not the God that an image represented, but the image itself. Voiceover: There is a commandment against creating images. Voiceover: So, artists were at a luck for quite a while. Voiceover: They were, yes. Voiceover: (laughs) What we're looking at here is a mosaic in the most prominent place in Hagia Sophia, that is the most important church in the Byzantine Empire. Voiceover: This dates to the period just after iconoclasm comes to an end. Voiceover: This is an enormously important statement. Voiceover: This is the emperor and the patriarchs saying, "No more iconoclasm. We want images. We think images are incredibly important." There was a resurgence of patronage of religious art during this period right after then end of iconoclasm. Voiceover: We see this glorious image of the Virgin Mary seated on a clench with two cushions and she holds on her lap the Christ child. Voiceover: It's the only resemble icons that remained Vast majority were destroyed, some do remain. Voiceover: This is specifically close to an icon that is in the Church of St. Catherine in Sinai in Egypt. This is a great example of the style that we call the middle Byzantine. That is the period immediately after the iconoclasm. Voiceover: She may look small here in the Church of Hagia Sophia, which is so tall and vast, but in fact she's 16 feet high. Voiceover: It's just that she's dwarfed by the immense proportions of this architecture. Voiceover: By the gold of that apse. Voiceover: That gold of course is a way of representing the Divine light of heaven. Voiceover: It's something we see very often in Byzantine art. Voiceover: Look at the way that she's right above that road windows. She really is floating. She really is even above the sky. Voiceover: Throughout Hagia Sophia there's a sense of light as connected to the Divine. As she rests on those windows and windows below her again and then above her in the semi-dome, there is a sense of her being surrounded by Divine light. Voiceover: So we've got this light, we've got this gold field, but we've also got a real sense of solidity and it's so different from the way we usually think of think of the icon as flat Look at the platform that they're seated on. Look at the solidity of the bench. These are really solid pieces of timber and by the way, very elegant. In fact, there's even gems. If we think about it in the context of the end of iconoclasm, this is an artist that is representing these forms and saying, "These things are here to stay." Voiceover: The image is meant to reaffirm the importance of images. It had originally an inscription, most of which is now gone, but that inscription said, "The images which imposters had cast down here pious emperors have set up again." There is a reassertion here of the importance of images and a condemning of those who destroyed the images. Voiceover: This particular image is called the Theotokos. That is "one who gives birth to Christ". Voiceover: Referring here to Mary. Voiceover: This image was unveiled by the patriarch of the Eastern Church. Voiceover: That day he gave a sermon in which he said, "Christ came to us in the flesh and was born in the arms of His mother. This is seen and confirmed and proclaimed in pictures. The teaching made manifest by means of personal eye witness and impelling the spectators to unhesitating ascent." Voiceover: This is about the power of the image to move one emotionally and spiritually to inspire and to teach. (music)