Wall-Paintings and Mosaics

Robin Cormack

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Wall-Paintings and Mosaics

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Monumental church decoration is the source of most of what we know about the embellishment of buildings, even as excavated houses at Ephesos and other sites also offer a glimpse into interior decoration in domestic settings. By the late Byzantine period, visual compendia of church history and saints are evident in walls and vaults. In particular, the apse was regarded as the cave of the nativity and the altar table as the place where Christ was laid in the tomb. This topographical symbolism was the conceptual basis with which the Virgin and child were represented in the apse and Christ in the dome, which was interpreted as a symbol of heaven. By the eighteenth century, however, Dionysius of Fourna began to prescribe the decoration of the "normal" church architecture. This article focuses on the use of wall-paintings and mosaics in church architecture during the Byzantine Era.

Keywords: Byzantine Era; church architecture; church decoration; mosaics; wall-paintings; interior decoration; walls; vaults; Dionysius of Fourna

Article.  4583 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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