Middle Byzantine art

A growing economy and increased patronage produced important new works of art and architecture following the Iconoclastic period.

843–1204 C.E.

Beginner's guide

The Middle Byzantine period spans from the end of Iconoclasm in 843 to the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

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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.

Cross-cultural artistic interaction in the Middle Byzantine period
Cross-cultural artistic interaction in the Middle Byzantine period

The Byzantines were in persistent communication with a diverse range of other societies.

The Melisende Psalter
The Melisende Psalter

This medieval manuscript combined the arts of western Europe and the Byzantine Empire for the crusader queen Melisende of Jerusalem.

The Cappella Palatina
The Cappella Palatina

Drawing from both Christian and Islamic artistic traditions, the Norman King Roger II built the Cappella Palatina to be his dazzling palace chapel and royal ceremonial hall

The visual culture of Norman Sicily
The visual culture of Norman Sicily

The Norman Kings who ruled Sicily in the twelfth century drew from Byzantine, Islamic, and Romanesque art to present themselves as legitimate Christian rulers.

A work in progress: Middle Byzantine mosaics in Hagia Sophia
A work in progress: Middle Byzantine mosaics in Hagia Sophia

The Byzantines kept adding mosaics to Hagia Sophia for centuries after it was first built, reflecting recent controversies, monetary donations, and even imperial marriages.

Middle Byzantine secular art
Middle Byzantine secular art

These fantastic beasts, heroes, and pseudo-texts show that not all Byzantine art was sacred.

Book illumination in the Eastern Mediterranean
Book illumination in the Eastern Mediterranean

Elisabeth Yota surveys some of the evidence for the production of illuminated manuscripts outside of the imperial capital of Constantinople

Illuminating the Psalms in Byzantium
Illuminating the Psalms in Byzantium

Byzantine book illumination was at its most ambitious and innovative in the decorated psalters produced between the 9th and 11th centuries

Illuminated Gospel-books
Illuminated Gospel-books

Kathleen Maxwell describes some of the remarkable illuminated copies of the Gospels to be found in the British Library’s collections.

A Byzantine vision of Paradise — The Harbaville Triptych
A Byzantine vision of Paradise — The Harbaville Triptych

This ivory triptych was an object of prayer and a vision of paradise for Byzantine viewers following iconoclasm

Byzantine frescoes at Saint Panteleimon, Nerezi
Byzantine frescoes at Saint Panteleimon, Nerezi

You've heard of Byzantium's golden mosaics, but what about its dramatic frescoes?

Selected Contributors