Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine Aesthetic Experience by Nadine Schibille

By Nadine Schibille

Paramount within the shaping of early Byzantine identification was once the development of the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (532-537 CE). This booklet examines the edifice from the point of view of aesthetics to outline the concept that of good looks and the that means of paintings in early Byzantium. Byzantine aesthetic proposal is re-evaluated opposed to overdue old Neoplatonism and the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius that provide basic paradigms for the overdue old angle in the direction of artwork and sweetness. those metaphysical thoughts of aesthetics are finally grounded in reviews of sensation and conception, and replicate the ways that the area and truth have been perceived and grasped, signifying the cultural id of early Byzantium.There are kinds of aesthetic information, these found in the classy item and people present in aesthetic responses to the item. This learn seems on the aesthetic facts embodied within the sixth-century architectural constitution and inside ornament of Hagia Sophia in addition to in literary responses (ekphrasis) to the construction. the aim of the Byzantine ekphrasis used to be to exhibit through verbal capacity an identical results that the artefact itself may have triggered. A literary research of those rhetorical descriptions recaptures the Byzantine belief and expectancies, and while finds the cognitive techniques brought on by means of the nice Church. The significant aesthetic function that emerges from sixth-century ekphraseis of Hagia Sophia is that of sunshine. gentle is defined because the decisive aspect within the adventure of the sacred house and light-weight is at the same time linked to the suggestion of knowledge. it really is argued that the ideas of sunshine and knowledge are interwoven programmatic parts that underlie the original structure and non-figurative ornament of Hagia Sophia. the same difficulty for the phenomenon of sunshine and its epistemological size is mirrored in different modern monuments, attesting to the pervasiveness of those aesthetic values in early Byzantium.

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76 Porter aptly discusses the interrelation of aesthetic appreciation and social processes and conventions. James I. Porter, The Origins of Aesthetic Thought in Ancient Greece: Matter, Sensation, and Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 13–15, 40. 78 This is what the architecture and interior decoration of Hagia Sophia stand for and what the two ekphraseis eloquently mirror. The light-suffused ecclesiastical space creates a sense of the unknown, of something that the human mind cannot fully grasp.

24–25, 71; Silentiary verse 300. Zaga Gavrilovic, ‘Divine wisdom as part of Byzantine imperial ideology: Research into the artistic interpretations of the theme of medieval Serbia’, Zograf 11 (1982): 45. 76 Porter aptly discusses the interrelation of aesthetic appreciation and social processes and conventions. James I. Porter, The Origins of Aesthetic Thought in Ancient Greece: Matter, Sensation, and Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 13–15, 40. 78 This is what the architecture and interior decoration of Hagia Sophia stand for and what the two ekphraseis eloquently mirror.

Susanna Morton Braund and Christopher Gill (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Webb (2007); Webb (2009), 122. 101 Cyril Mango, ‘Antique statuary and the Byzantine beholder’, DOP 17 (1963): 65–6. 102 The discrepancy between the increasingly abstract and symbolic nature of early Byzantine art and its continuous description as realistic and true to life can be explained through a concept of reality that was not founded on the material world alone but that was an expression of a divine reality.

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