Discuss the thematic connection you can make between Byzantine art (mosaics, relief carving, or architecture) and art from a previous module we've already discussed. Pick two pieces, specifically. Post the two images in the discussion so we can see them.

Questions and Topics We Can Help You To Answer:
Paper Instructions:

In our last module on Art of Late Antiquity, we transitioned from a pagan Roman Empire to an officially Christian Roman Empire through the efforts of Constantine, who officially gives Christians the freedom to practice. Theodosius is the emperor who bans pagan religions and legitimizes Christianity as the only religion of Rome in 391. We also remember Constantine moves the capitol of the empire from Rome to Byzantium, or modern day Istanbul. Those that follow Constantine consider themselves to be the true, new Romans, and Constantine establishes the "New Rome" in what is to become known as Constantinople.

Discussion Topic for Byzantine Art

Discuss the thematic connection you can make between Byzantine art (mosaics, relief carving, or architecture) and art from a previous module we've already discussed. Pick two pieces, specifically. Post the two images in the discussion so we can see them.

1. What thematic connection can you make?(100words)

2. How do the 2 images you picked support a thematic connection? Explain.(100words)

3. Briefly Respond to peer's thought below.(20words)
    Peer's thought: In the module content it mentions how the apex height of Hagia Sophia's dome is 40 feet taller than that of the Pantheon, which got me interested to see if their are any similarities between the dome of the Pantheon and the dome of the Hagia Sophia. After doing some research to refresh my memory on the Pantheon, I realized that the domes of both structures serve a very similar purpose. Both domes are made to push the boundaries of the construction of dome to represent the connection between the heavens and the earth.

First with the Pantheon, it was constructed to be able to fit a perfect sphere in the center of the building with the height and diameter being exactly equal. No one knows who the main architect for the Pantheon was, but they must have had a complex understanding of mathematics and geometry like the architects of the Hagia Sophia, Anthemius and Isidorus. The Pantheon also pushes the boundaries of traditional dome construction by having a hole right in it's center. The hole not only works to show the genius of Roman architecture, but it also connects to the main theme of the building, the humans' connection to the gods. The oculus (hole in the center of the dome) represents the watchful of eye of Zeus, reminding the viewer that the Gods are invested in the lives of the earthly Roman citizens. The oculus also further reinforces this connection between the humans and the gods by working as sort of sundial, with the oculus casting a perfect circular light the moves across the floor of the Pantheon showing a "reflection of the movement of the heavens" (Zucker 6:59-7:02). The Pantheon seeks to create a heavenly an awe inspiring experience for it's visitors, which is the same intent of Justinian's Hagia Sophia.

The Hagia Sophia also takes a new look at the construction of a dome, but it does so in a very different way by trying to put the dome on a square base. Instead of making the building a perfectly round structure to match the roundness of the dome, the Hagia Sophia adapts a cube shape to support a massive dome shape by using triangular cuts of a dome shape, pendentives, to cap off four large supporting structures, called piers, at the corners of the cube(Module 8, Pg. 5). The Hagia Sophia is also a feat of dome architecture by perforating the perimeter of the dome with 40 windows. This idea of putting a hole in a major part of the dome is similar to the Pantheon's oculus not only in style, but in it's symbolical theme. The windows make the dome feel like it is suspended by the heavens, as described by Paul the Silentary, but it also "creates a rhythm that almost sets the dome in motion" (Zucker 5:26-5:31). Like the Pantheon, the Hagia Sophia seeks to represent the movement of the heavens on earth, and connect the power of God (one in the case of the Hagia Sophia) to the humans below him. While it might not be as literal as the oculus in the Pantheon, the ring of windows reflects the Pantheon's idea of an other worldly being taking some part in the construction of the building. While the two religions these buildings honor are very different, the theme of the interaction between the heavens and earth is persistent through both.

754 Words  2 Pages

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