Late Byzantine art

Many of Byzantium's greatest masterpieces date from the final days of its empire.

1261–1453 C.E.

Beginner's guide

The Late Byzantine period begins when the Byzantines retake Constantinople from the crusaders in 1261 and ends when the city falls to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

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Guide to Byzantine art
Guide to Byzantine art

Smarthistory's free Byzantine e-book available for reading online, downloading, and purchasing a printed copy.

The vita icon in the medieval era
The vita icon in the medieval era

The vita icon emerged as an innovative format for depicting the life of a saint—and quickly became popular across Europe.

Picturing salvation — Chora’s brilliant Byzantine mosaics and frescoes
Picturing salvation — Chora’s brilliant Byzantine mosaics and frescoes

a powerful Byzantine court official builds himself a dazzling burial chapel

Byzantine miniature mosaics
Byzantine miniature mosaics

Explore the tiny pieces of gold, glass, and colorful stones that compose the miniature mosaics of the Byzantine Empire.

Late Byzantine naturalism: Hagia Sophia’s Deësis mosaic
Late Byzantine naturalism: Hagia Sophia’s Deësis mosaic

This mosaic shows how the arts—and an interest in naturalism—flourished in the final centuries of the Byzantine Empire.

Late Byzantine secular architecture and urban planning
Late Byzantine secular architecture and urban planning

Fortified hilltop cites, palaces, and more.

Late Byzantine church architecture
Late Byzantine church architecture

Don't skip the final chapter: many of Byzantium’s most beautiful churches date from the last days of the empire.

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).

<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.

Selected Contributors