Art and Liturgy

Nancy P. Ševčenko

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

 Art and Liturgy

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Liturgical art in Byzantium was known for its polyvalence as well as its ability to function and communicate on various levels and in various settings. Virtually all the arts of Byzantium were in one way or another influenced by the liturgy of the Orthodox Church. Late Byzantine church decoration featured Eucharistic themes and expanded Passion cycles, calendar cycles, and the illustrations of hymns and individual psalms. Elements drawn from the actual performance of the liturgy were incorporated in paintings. Icons played an important role in church interiors, but were not, in the Byzantine period at least, addressed directly, or referred to, in liturgical texts themselves, even in the large monastic corpus of hymns and prayers. Among the various categories of Byzantine works of art, the vestments and the liturgical implements are the only ones whose design and decoration are unquestionably connected with their liturgical use.

Keywords: liturgy; art; Byzantium; Orthodox Church; church decoration; paintings; vestments; liturgical implements; hymns; liturgical art

Article.  4068 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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