How is light understood and used in Byzantine art, and why is it significant? What connections can you make between the use of light in Byzantine art and the art that preceded it? Can you trace the roots of our understanding of light as a metaphor through the ages?
Byzantine art marked the advancement of classical art forms that were highly valued and realistic. The Byzantine artists had little concern with mimicking reality and related their work with religious symbolism that incorporated diverse architectural designs in constructing domes (Strezova & Anita., 2014). Additionally, light in the Byzantine period had significance in churches; first, it enhanced prescriptive artificial lighting and management of levels of natural lighting. The art had importance in beautifying a building under construction; it also had significant roles in individual persons' lives, like assuring the faithful that their actions rhymed with the way of salvation. Additionally, it was used to direct the illiterate on their souls' matters in relevance to religious doctrines.
Essentially, to enhance the significance of art, the interiors of Byzantine churches contained mosaics and paintings on the walls. Byzantine art underwent advancements and emphasized religious expression, and utilized artistic terms in church theology. Initial Byzantine architecture also emphasized domes and vaults, this approach changed, and four equal vaulted arms were adopted to enhance the firmness of structures (Weitzmann & Kurt., 2014). The inner designs on walls also changed, and a spiritual presence replaced the human figure. Light in Byzantine art is used as a metaphor; it illustrates the beauty of the structures and, from a religious perspective, is used to relate to the faithful's pure souls.
Byzantine art marked the advancement of classical art forms that were highly valued and realistic.