The Use of Gold in Byzantine Art
In this case, the use of gold used in the Byzantine artwork provided that extra new substance that glorified the religious aspects of the era. Byzantine artists had a deep understanding of gold’s function in their art. In general, there were two purposes for using gold in Byzantine art: to add extra luminosity or to express the stable faith of the believers.
2. The use of gold in Byzantine art:
The use of gold was prominent in the mosaics of churches and cathedrals. A famous example is the Icon of the Savior from the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, which was created in the 692-698 period. In this painting, gold is used to express the divine nature of Christ. Christ is shown as a young man with a golden halo around his head. His clothes are also decorated with golden patterns.
Another example of the use of gold in Byzantine art is theIcon of the Mother of God from the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir, which was created in 1160-1161. In this painting, Mary is shown surrounded by a golden aura. Her dress is also decorated with golden patterns. This icon is an example of how gold can be used to express the holiness of a person.
3. The political power of gold in the Byzantine era:
Gold was also used to express the political power of the Byzantine Empire. For example, in the mosaic of Justinian I from San Vitale in Ravenna, which was created in 547, Justinian is shown with a gold cross on his chest and a golden wreath on his head. This shows that he was not only a religious leader but also a political leader with great power and authority.
4. The role of faith in the art of the era:
Faith played an important role in Byzantine art. For example, in the mosaic of Emperor Constantine from San Vitale in Ravenna, which was created around 547, Constantine is shown with a cross on his chest and a halo around his head. This shows that he was a very religious ruler who believed deeply in Christianity.
5. The artists of the 14th century:
In the 14th century, some Byzantine artists started to experiment with new artistic styles which incorporated elements from both Eastern and Western cultures. For example, Manuel Panselinos was one of these artists. He created an icon called “The Annunciation” which showed elements from both Byzantine and Western art styles. In this painting, Mary is shown being visited by the Archangel Gabriel who is holding a lily, which is a symbol of purity and virginity in Western art. At the same time, Mary is shown with a halo around her head and she is surrounded by a golden aura, which are both typical elements of Byzantine art.
In conclusion, the use of gold in Byzantine art served many purposes. It was used to add extra luminosity, to express the stable faith of the believers, or to show the political power of the ruling class. Faith played an important role in the art of the era. The artists of the 14th century started to experiment with new styles which incorporated elements from both Eastern and Western cultures.