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Forum LockedByzantine Sculpture

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Byzantine Sculpture
    Posted: 02-Oct-2006 at 17:02
I got the following image from one of the websited listed in the AE Portal links (in the Medieval Europe section, there's a site with virtual images from 1200 Byzantium). I think that the picture below is an actual picture of Byzantine sculptures taken to Venice after 1204. I was quite impressed with the workmanship and I would like to know more about Byzantine sculptures. I'm familiar with Byzantine painting, but I know next to nothing of their sculpture. Does anyone know more?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Theodore Felix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2006 at 17:06
I believe this was from the more Roman oriented days as it came from the old Circus Maximus.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nikodemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2006 at 17:17
I agree.These horses were not made by Byzantine sculptors.These were made by  ancient Roman sculptors.The name and the origin of the sculptors are not known.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horses_of_Saint_Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2006 at 17:20

They are four bronzes horses sculpted in the early Byzantine period (4th-5th c., I think).  For ages they were situated high up on the rim of the Hippdorome, where the chariot races were held and the Byzantine emperors went on triumphal procession.  The crusaders of the Fourth Crusade (1204) pillaged them and took them to Venice, where they sat atop the Cathedral San Marco until not too long ago.  A Venetian museum took the real sculpture inside and provided a replica that could weather the pigeon excrement!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sirona Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2006 at 17:25
They date most probably to Constantine's time, but it's not possible to talk of a Byzantine culture or art at the time of Constantine, I think it was still a completely Roman culture.

In any case, the Byzantines never called themselves Byzantines, they always knew themselves as Romans; but even by our standards, "Byzantine" culture doesn't start until, I would say, 8th century or so. Before then, especially art is still very much Late Antique and doesn't yet have its special Eastern flavour.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nikodemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2006 at 17:33
Has anyone seen the statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome?
His horse looks very much like these horses.
Perhaps these horses are indeed creation of classical antiquity artists.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2006 at 04:27
Yes, it was a great Byzantine sculpture.

We have to mention the 4-6th century sculptures of emperors or patricians. later, the ivory panles, the masterpiece being the throne of Maximilianus at Ravenna (6th century):




Also we have to mention the fabulous Caucasion sculpted decoration of churches in Georgia and Armenia. Georgia and Armenia were the leading of Christian art for many centuries, between 4th and 9th century. Byzantine architecture is inspired from Georgian architecture (unfortunately, there are not photos on web about the incredible patrimony of Georgia, tens of basilicas entirely preserved from the first millenium AD).





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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brainstorm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2006 at 05:00
According to a tradition,the Horses are a work of Lysippos,the great Greek artist of the 4th century BC.
The supposed to be transfered to Rome by Nero ,during the 1st cent.AD.
Whatever their origin is ,its almost sure they were part of a "tethrippon" complex(a chariot with 4 horses),so there should be a rider-unknown who (the sun?or a great man)

As for Byzantine sculpture,
until 6th century,there was some production,but this can be considered as the last breaths of ancient greco-roman tradition.
Sculptury,connected with paganism in Byzantium ,had limited chances.
Fortunately some pieces of art survive from the middle and late period, maybe not as elegant as classical models,but for sure interesting and rare.
(i ll try to post some)


Edited by Brainstorm - 04-Oct-2006 at 05:02
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2006 at 05:55
Originally posted by nikodemos

Has anyone seen the statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome?
His horse looks very much like these horses.
Perhaps these horses are indeed creation of classical antiquity artists.
 
The one on the capitol is a twentieth century statue. It is not quite a copy of the original one, but a free impression on the subject by the modern sculptor...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2006 at 13:23
Originally posted by Brainstorm


As for Byzantine sculpture,
until 6th century,there was some production,but this can be considered as the last breaths of ancient greco-roman tradition.
Sculptury,connected with paganism in Byzantium ,had limited chances.
Fortunately some pieces of art survive from the middle and late period, maybe not as elegant as classical models,but for sure interesting and rare.

 
The decline of the art of sculpture in the Byzantine Empire had two reasons; firstly the unity of state and religion meant that artistic production, even in the profane, consisted largely of the display of Christian themes, which by their very nature asked for a symbolic depiction than a realistic. It was far easier to depict complex Christian allegories via the medium of ikons or mosaics than via sculptures whose scope is somewhat limited. The notion of realistic, naturalist art disappeared over time, and thus did sculptures. That the Church anathematised sculptures because of their Pagan associations is not really documented, but a religiously motivated dislike of Calssical Greek sculptures might also have played a role.
The second reason was the Iconoclastic movement in the 8th and 9th centuries, that virtually stopped all official artistic production for a few decades. After that, Byzantine sculptural art never really recovered, it was limited to reliefs and decorative sculptures.


Edited by Komnenos - 04-Oct-2006 at 13:24
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2006 at 15:34
 I always wondered why Byzantine Emperors never seemed to have busts sculptered  made or atleast why none seem to have survived. Just about every Roman Emperor has a bust that survives yet the latest one i've found is of Leo I which seems to have recently turned up on wikipedias page on him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_I_%28emperor%29.

 I'm aware bronze statues were made of many Emperors and were probably melted down centuries ago, however many Roman statues and busts remain and yet so few Byzantine. Did styles simply change and emperors were depicted more in mosaics so bust/statues simply became less numerous?

 I wonder because I always find it fascinating to look at the ancient busts of the faces of the Emperors, they may not depict them entirely realistically, however it's the closest anybody will ever get to seeing these people properly. Theres a brilliant one of Hadrian in the local museum which is brilliant to see.

 Coins don't seem to depict many distinctive features, in the Christian/Byzantine age, everybody looks increasingly similiar, however mosaics make a welcome change.


Edited by Heraclius - 04-Oct-2006 at 15:38
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nikodemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2006 at 18:40
Originally posted by Aelfgifu

 The one on the capitol is a twentieth century statue. It is not quite a copy of the original one, but a free impression on the subject by the modern sculptor...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equestrian_Statue_of_Marcus_Aurelius
Aelfgifu, the statue outside the Capitoline museum is a replica.The one inside the museum however is an ancient statue and was made during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.If you take a look at the horse it resembles very much the horses of the tethrippon.



Edited by nikodemos - 04-Oct-2006 at 18:50
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2006 at 19:41
There were also other causes for the decline in sculpting, though the religiosity and iconoclasm already mentioned are paramount. The later Roman Empire saw a decline and disruption in urban security. As cities became smaller and more vulnerable to attack, the populace increasingly became centred around providing for their immediate defence, basic artisan skills and other less glamorous necessities of urban survival. In the medieval period, with Constantinople itself being reduced to a city of perhaps only 50,000 people by the mid 8th century, the urban profusion required to indulge in the finer arts was in short supply.
It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brainstorm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2006 at 10:53
Originally posted by Constantine XI

There were also other causes for the decline in sculpting, though the
religiosity and iconoclasm already mentioned are paramount. The later
Roman Empire saw a decline and disruption in urban security. As cities
became smaller and more vulnerable to attack, the populace increasingly
became centred around providing for their immediate defence, basic
artisan skills and other less glamorous necessities of urban survival.
In the medieval period, with Constantinople itself being reduced to a
city of perhaps only 50,000 people by the mid 8th century, the urban
profusion required to indulge in the finer arts was in short supply.

    50.000 in 750 ? Are u sure?
I think numbers like 1.000.000 are given by prominent historians for 1000,so i dont think that there was such difference.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2006 at 11:22
Originally posted by brainstorm

 50.000 in 750 ? Are u sure?
I think numbers like 1.000.000 are given by prominent historians for 1000,so i dont think that there was such difference.
 
 
Cities can grow and shrink very fast. Look at Rome for instance. It started as jus a small settlement and grew into the biggest city in Europe, but in the Middle ages most of the land within the Roman walls was used by goatherders.
 
 
 
Amsterdam counted about 3000 inhabitants in 1400, but it had grown to 60.000 in 1600 and to 140.000 in 1650. That's a 875% increase in just 50 years.
 
And Berlin shrunk from 4.8 million before WWII to 2.3 million in 1945. Even today the inhabitants count only 3.4 million.
So losing or gaining half a million in 250 years is not so strange.


Edited by Aelfgifu - 13-Oct-2006 at 11:29

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brainstorm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2006 at 03:23
Ok..but i dont think that there was such an incident (like WII!),t obe considered as a turning point and from 50.000 in 750 ,the City to be filled in 1000.
Anyway i have read the number 250.000 for 9th century.
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Edited by Brainstorm - 16-Oct-2006 at 03:23
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2006 at 04:28
Originally posted by Brainstorm

Originally posted by Constantine XI

There were also other causes for the decline in sculpting, though the
religiosity and iconoclasm already mentioned are paramount. The later
Roman Empire saw a decline and disruption in urban security. As cities
became smaller and more vulnerable to attack, the populace increasingly
became centred around providing for their immediate defence, basic
artisan skills and other less glamorous necessities of urban survival.
In the medieval period, with Constantinople itself being reduced to a
city of perhaps only 50,000 people by the mid 8th century, the urban
profusion required to indulge in the finer arts was in short supply.

    50.000 in 750 ? Are u sure?
I think numbers like 1.000.000 are given by prominent historians for 1000,so i dont think that there was such difference.


That's the optimistic figure given by Cyril Mango, the one he touts as more realistic is 30,000. Unbelievable I know, but there is evidence to support it. The sudden loss of Byzantium's main grain making provinces, combined with the devestation wrought by the Arabs in Anatolia, combined with a recent bout of severe bubonic plague all combined to devestate this metropolis. Once the thema system was consolidated, however, the city quickly recovered.
It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.

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