Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine Aesthetic Experience by Nadine Schibille

By Nadine Schibille

Paramount within the shaping of early Byzantine identification was once the development of the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (532-537 CE). This ebook examines the edifice from the point of view of aesthetics to outline the concept that of attractiveness and the which means of artwork in early Byzantium. Byzantine aesthetic idea is re-evaluated opposed to past due old Neoplatonism and the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius that supply primary paradigms for the past due vintage angle in the direction of paintings and wonder. those metaphysical ideas of aesthetics are eventually grounded in reports of sensation and notion, and replicate the ways that the area and truth have been perceived and grasped, signifying the cultural identification of early Byzantium.There are varieties of aesthetic info, these found in the classy item and people present in aesthetic responses to the item. This learn appears to be like on the aesthetic info embodied within the sixth-century architectural constitution and inside ornament of Hagia Sophia in addition to in literary responses (ekphrasis) to the construction. the aim of the Byzantine ekphrasis was once to express by means of verbal ability an identical results that the artefact itself might have prompted. A literary research of those rhetorical descriptions recaptures the Byzantine belief and expectancies, and whilst unearths the cognitive approaches brought on through the nice Church. The vital aesthetic function that emerges from sixth-century ekphraseis of Hagia Sophia is that of sunshine. gentle is defined because the decisive aspect within the adventure of the sacred house and lightweight is concurrently linked to the thought of knowledge. it truly is argued that the recommendations of sunshine and knowledge are interwoven programmatic components that underlie the original structure and non-figurative ornament of Hagia Sophia. an identical problem for the phenomenon of sunshine and its epistemological measurement is mirrored in different modern monuments, attesting to the pervasiveness of those aesthetic values in early Byzantium.

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10 11 16 Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine Aesthetic Experience (aisthesis) into potential objects of intellection (noesis),15 and how Procopius and Paul the Silentiary transcended the material reality (materiality) of the building of Hagia Sophia into a monument of wisdom (sophia). Visualising Hagia Sophia through the Agency of Light As a rhetorical device, an ekphrasis could be employed in a variety of contexts, and the two sixth-century ekphrastic accounts of Hagia Sophia, one by Procopius and the other by Paul the Silentiary, indeed differ in purpose and structure.

12 An ekphrasis echoes the viewer’s experience and perception, thereby creating an interpretative framework for the viewing process. g. 13 In so doing, an ekphrasis pays attention to those properties to which aesthetic value was assigned by a Byzantine beholder. These objects of aesthetic experience, however, need not necessarily be material or visible. Rather, the ekphrasis promotes intelligent viewing by instructing the reader or listener how to look and what to see. 14 This chapter explores how the two extant ekphraseis of Hagia Sophia transformed the objects of sense perception Elsner (2007); Webb (2000).

3–6; quoted in Webb (2009), 83. 90 Nikolaos, Progymnasmata, 69; quoted and translated in Webb (2009), 203. 91 Webb (1997); Dubel (1997); Nikolaos, Progymnasmata, 70, II. 2–3; translated in Webb (2009), 203. 32. 93 Manieri (1998), 140–49; Webb (2009), 72–4. 96 As a rhetorical device, enargeia aims at exploiting the emotions of the audience by activating its imagination through descriptive discourse and thereby creating the illusion of seeing rather than listening to a technical description of it.

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