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Books > Arts & Photography > History & Criticism > History > 0271016701
  1. Heaven on Earth: Art and the Church in Byzantium
    Heaven on Earth: Art and the Church in Byzantium
    Heaven on Earth: Art and the Church in Byzantium
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  2. Heaven on Earth: Art and the Church in Byzantium

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (4 reviews)
    Price R1639.00

Additional Information

This easily accessible volume, which grew out of a series of lectures presented at the Smithsonian Institution in 1991, aims to provide a coherent introduction to Byzantine culture with a focus on the interconnected realms of art and religion. The eight participants have revised their lectures into chapters on Byzantine history, theology, icons and icon theory, church architecture, monumental painting, silver church furnishings, illustrated liturgical books, and pilgrimage. In addition to presenting current research on this range of topics, the chapters each contribute original scholarship from authors who are recognized experts in their respective fields.

The Introduction, by Linda Safran, deals with views and definitions of Byzantium over the course of its long history and considers why that civilization deserves our attention today. It underscores the essential unifying role of the Orthodox religion in a vast and fluid empire and clarifies how the experiential aspects of that religion—churches, liturgy, church arts and imagery, religious travel—open a window into Byzantine culture. Throughout the book, the past is made vivid by considering what Byzantine believers heard and said and did, as well as what they saw.

The book's chapters are cross-referenced and are complemented both by endnotes that cite primary and secondary sources and by "Suggestions for Further Reading" that include English and foreign-language references. There is no comparable art history text that combines this high-caliber range of current scholarship with more than 250 illustrations, including 16 pages of color plates, to introduce Byzantine culture to a broad readership.

Contributors are Joseph Alchermes, Susan A. Boyd, Anna Kartsonis, Henry Maguire, Robert Ousterhout, Eric D. Perl, Nancy Patterson Ševčenko, and Gary Vikan.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This is a required text for an art history course on Byzantine art and architecture that I am taking. The eight well-written lectures cover the rise of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, Turkey), the central themes of Byzantine theology (Eastern Orthodoxy), and the place of art, particularly iconography, in the worship of the Orthodox Church. As an Orthodox Christian, much of this material is already familiar to me, but I am very impressed with the depth and quality of understanding of Orthodox religion and art by writers who are not. This is one textbook I will not be selling when the course is finished. It will have a permanent place on my book shelf.
If you are studying Byzantine iconography, you must have this book or at least read it. It consists of a number of articles by experts in the field, who are writing about the subject from various points of views - icons in connection to Byzantine (Christian Orthodox) theology, Byzantine liturgy, architecture, manuscript illumination, society in general.
The book that I ordered from Amazon came in the perfect shape, completely new and shiny. Furthermore, it arrived even before I expected it. All in all, the service was without a spot.
Byzantine art, while majestic and regal, is often accused of being bland. No creativity, just repetitive images of saints and biblical scenes. After taking a class on the topic, I am still trying to make sense of the deeper aesthetic of Byzantine art. Linda Safran’s edited volume, one of the books of my class, brings together eight major scholars of this art to connect that art with the religion that inspired it. All of the chapters in this volume were originally talks given in connection with a Smithsonian Institute lecture series in 1991. I decided to finish the volume to see what lay in store for me. Here I’ll focus on the three chapters I enjoyed most.

"While sight is invoked most often in the chapters that follow, the other senses augmented the experience of the Byzantine church-goer or pilgrim: the holy books were read aloud, hymns were sung, icons or relics were touched or kissed, scented oils were used for anointing, and the smell of incense... Read more
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