Constantinople and the East

The Roman Empire continued with its capital at Constantinople, and is known as the Byzantine Empire.

c. 330 - 1453 C.E.

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Church of St. Nicholas, Balinesti
Church of St. Nicholas, Balinesti

A church painted inside and out, at the crossroads of the (Eastern) late Byzantine and the (Western) late Medieval worlds.

Byzantine Mosaic of a Personification, Ktisis
Byzantine Mosaic of a Personification, Ktisis

This Byzantine mosaic shows the personification of the act of generous giving — Ktisis

Woman with Scroll
Woman with Scroll

An Early Byzantine sculpture of a woman with a scroll at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Byzantine Griffin Panel
Byzantine Griffin Panel

A panel with a Griffin (a lion and an eagle — the king of birds and the king of animals — combined).

A  chalice from the Attarouthi Treasure
A chalice from the Attarouthi Treasure

A sumptuous silver and gold chalice starring a youthful Christ, a saint slaying a dragon (could it be George?), and more.

<em>The Emperor Triumphant (Barberini Ivory)</em>
The Emperor Triumphant (Barberini Ivory)

This energetic image of military victory captures a moment of transition between classical and Byzantine art.

<em>Deësis (Christ with the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist)</em>, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Deësis (Christ with the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist), Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

When the most important church in the East became a mosque, this mosaic was covered but three faces survived.

<em>Theotokos mosaic</em>, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Theotokos mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

The size and solidity of this Virgin and Christ reaffirmed the power of images in the wake of Byzantine iconoclasm.

Hagia Sophia as a mosque
Hagia Sophia as a mosque

After the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, the sultan repurposed this church, adding slender “pencil” minarets.

<em>Icon with the Triumph of Orthodoxy</em>
Icon with the Triumph of Orthodoxy

Created at the end of the Byzantine Empire, this image looks back to the achievements of an earlier empress.

Ivory Panel with Archangel
Ivory Panel with Archangel

His body swells beneath the cloth, but his feet hardly touch the ground. This awkward angel is part pagan, part Christian.

The <em>Paris Psalter</em>
The Paris Psalter

Large and lavish, the images in this manuscript revived the classical style for medieval church use.

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