Early Byzantine art
(including Iconoclasm)

The Early Byzantine period was a time of growth and experimentation, producing some of the greatest monuments of the Byzantine era.

c. 330 - 843

Beginner's guide

The Early Byzantine period spans from the founding of Constantinople in 330 to the Iconoclastic Controversy in the eighth and ninth centuries.

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Innovative architecture in the age of Justinian
Innovative architecture in the age of Justinian

The reign of emperor Justinian (527 - 565) saw dramatic new developments in Byzantine architecture.

Early Byzantine architecture after Constantine
Early Byzantine architecture after Constantine

Basilicas and new architectural forms appeared following the reign of emperor Constantine.

The origins of Byzantine architecture
The origins of Byzantine architecture

House churches, catacombs, basilicas - explore the origins of Byzantine architecture

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

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.

Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna (Italy)
Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna (Italy)

Here Christ, represented by the cross, reveals his divine nature to the Apostles—and to the 6th-century worshiper.

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.

San Vitale and the <em>Justinian Mosaic</em>
San Vitale and the Justinian Mosaic

Gold, glass, and marble dazzle the eye in this 6th-century church. High above us, Emperor Justinian presides.

<em>Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George</em>
Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George

Preserved in a desert monastery, this wax-on-wood icon leads the viewer upward and inward to the spiritual realm.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

The golden dome of this vast building appears suspended from heaven. It has withstood quakes, conquest, and crusades.

Selected Contributors