BYZANTINE ARCHITECTURE

Reading: Architecture, chapter four, pp. 169--178

Byzantine Empire (eastern): Eastern Roman Empire dominant from fifth century, reaching its highest point under Justinian (527-565). Extremely centralized and despotic personal rule. Brilliance and magnificence of court and court ritual.

Byzantine Architecture: Strong emphasis on vaulted central type as a result of variants in ritual. Structure: Basilicas with open timber roofs; central type with domes on pendentives or squinches and groin vaults supported by piers; walls have no structural function, become decorative screens. Free-flowing interior space, light continuous wall surfaces straight and curved. Coloristic treatment of surfaces, with all-over decoration: mosaic, marble veneer, lacy carved capitals, spandrels, and balustrades. Solidity of wall dissolved by shimmering light, frequently from hidden sources.

Representative buildings:

1) Rome, Sta. Costanza, fourth or fifth century; fig. 232
   
 
2) S. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, Italy, 534-549; fig. 240
         
         
 
3) Ravenna: Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, consecrated 525, p. 82.
 
4) S. Vitale, Ravenna, Italy, 526-consecrated 547: reconstructed plan at ground level; reconstructed plan at gallery level; exterior today; cutaway of original appearance; interior; fig. 256--258.
     
     
 
5) Hagia Sofia (=Santa Sophia), Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey, 532-537, by Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus: plan; section; plan and section; exterior view to northwest today; painting of interior as it was in 19th c.; entering at ground floor level: note thinness of screen wall; 055 interior view up to dome; figs. 250--253. Terms: clerestory, central-plan church, screen wall.