Byzantine art c. 330 – 1453

To speak of “Byzantine Art” is a bit problematic, since the Byzantine empire and its art spanned more than a millennium and penetrated geographic regions far from its capital in Constantinople. Thus, Byzantine art includes work created from the fourth century to the fifteenth century and encompassing parts of the Italian peninsula, the eastern edge of the Slavic world, the Middle East, and North Africa. So what is Byzantine art, and what do we mean when we use this term?










Thumbnail. Marble Portrait Bust of a Woman with a Scroll, late 4th–early 5th century C.E., pentelic marble, 53 x 27.5 x 22.2 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection)
An Early Byzantine sculpture of a woman with a scroll at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Woman with Scroll



Panel with a Griffin, 1250–1300, made in Greece or the Balkans (possibly), marble, 59.7 x 52.1 x 6.5 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
A panel with a Griffin (a lion and an eagle — the king of birds and the king of animals — combined).

Byzantine Griffin Panel









The Hagia Sophia as a mosque
After the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, the sultan repurposed this church, adding slender “pencil” minarets.

Hagia Sophia as a mosque






Byzantine panel with archangel, ivory leaf from diptych (detail)
His body swells beneath the cloth, but his feet hardly touch the ground. This awkward angel is part pagan, part Christian.

Ivory Panel with Archangel