Heaven on Earth: Art and the Church in Byzantium / Edition 1

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Contains eight lectures given at a fall 1991 lecture series at the Smithsonian Institution, examining the individual and collective experiences of the Byzantine faithful in order to understand the interaction of religion and art in Byzantium and thus bring the civilization to life. Topics include central themes in Byzantine theology, architecture and the liturgy, Byzantine silver plate, and illustrated service books of Byzantium. Excerpts from original sources are quoted extensively. Includes b&w and color photos and a glossary. Paper edition (unseen), $27.50. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
“This most useful book is the product of a lecture series titled ’sailing to Byzantium: The Sacred Core of a Great Civilization’ sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. . . . Each scholar writes with a clarity sufficient for someone new to the subject while raising issues at a level of sophistication and with a range of bibliography (and a useful glossary) that provoke further study for the more engaged reader. Consistent use of primary sources provides a vivid context for the concepts surrounding the works discussed. . . . The particular virtue of this book is the singular priority given to the church and its art as an expression of the Orthodox liturgy conducted within the sanctuary space, the essence of what unifies a vast and important part of the world even after the political apogee of the empire itself.”
—Elizabeth C. Parker, Church History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271016702
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,269,923
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Safran is Associate Professor of Art History in the department of Greek and Latin at The Catholic University of America. She is the author of San Pietro at Otranto: Byzantine Art in South Italy (1992).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Map
Introduction 1
1 Constantinople and the Empire of New Rome 13
2 "... That Man Might Become God": Central Themes in Byzantine Theology 39
3 The Responding Icon 58
4 The Holy Space: Architecture and the Liturgy 81
5 The Cycle of Images in the Church 121
6 Art in the Service of the Liturgy: Byzantine Silver Plate 152
7 Illuminating the Liturgy: Illustrated Service Books in Byzantium 186
8 Byzantine Pilgrims' Art 229
Glossary 267
Index 275
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