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ARTH 17 — Byzantine Art

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Apr 10—Jun 5
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 30
Unit: 1
Tuition: $400
Instructor(s): Patrick Hunt
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on April 17
7:00—8:50 pm
Apr 10—Jun 5
8 weeks
Drop By
Apr 30
1 Unit
Patrick Hunt
Please Note: No class on April 17
The very word “Byzantium” evokes golden domes, stunning mosaics, the incense of censers in monasteries, candlelight on icons and vellum manuscripts, and the sound of chanting floating over deserts and cliffs. While such romantic images are not untrue, they must be balanced by a clear-eyed appreciation of the historical and cultural accomplishments of Byzantine civilization, beginning with Constantine’s reordering of Roman culture and the creative fusion of classical and Christian traditions.

This course offers an introduction to Byzantine art from the 4th to 15th centuries CE, with an initial emphasis on Justinian’s legacy in art, design, and urban planning. Topics will include the stunning Ravenna mosaics and others in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean; porphyry sculptures; ivory carvings and edifices; and the glory of Constantinople, along with the Hosios Loukas and Daphni monasteries in Greece. What survives of Constantinople in Istanbul will be examined in detail. Add to this a long Byzantine tradition in Russia and the Slavic Balkans, where St. Basil’s in Moscow is an extension of the Byzantine tradition. Finally, there is the influence of Byzantine art in Western Europe exemplified in medieval Italy, in places like St. Mark’s in Venice and elsewhere, including Sicily’s Palermo during the Norman Dynasty (Cappella Palatina and Monreale, for example) where Byzantine artists left lasting legacies in the arts from icons to mosaics, sculpture, and architecture.

Patrick Hunt, Former Director, Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project

Patrick Hunt is the author of twenty books, including Caravaggio (Life & Times), When Empires Clash, and Hannibal. He is an associate at the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a research associate in archeoethnobotany at the Institute for EthnoMedicine. He received a PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Robin Cormack, Byzantine Art, Second Edition (ISBN 9780198778790)