The Glory of Byzantium and Early Christendom

Antony Eastmond
Published by Phaidon

The Glory of Byzantium and Early Christendom is a celebration of 300 of Byzantium’s finest works of art and expressions of Christian faith.

The Byzantine Empire spanned the 4th to the 15th centuries, bridging the Middle Ages from the late Roman Empire to the early Renaissance. Of all the world's empires, it is most clearly defined by its art, which established the images of the Christian religion that are still current today. The appearance, dress and attributes of Biblical figures we are familiar with all owe their invention to Byzantine artists.

This luxurious book presents 300 Byzantine artworks, ranging from architecture to jewellery, from coins to paintings, from mosaics to book illuminations. It is unique not only for its extensive variety of art forms, but also its geographic scope – it includes art from Britain to Syria, from Spain to Turkey, from Egypt to Georgia.

Together, the artworks trace the development of art in Eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean from the earliest days of Christianity to the fall of Constantinople. Even when a more secular art developed during the early Renaissance, Byzantine art lived on as the dominant style for religious art, particularly in the Orthodox East. However, as the author explains, it is misleading to regard Byzantine art as purely religious because artists also produced works with secular themes.

In his introductory essay, Antony Eastmond summarises the essence of Byzantine and early Christian art. This is followed by a chronological sequence of illustrations, each accompanied by a description placing the artwork in its social, religious and political context.

This is a landmark book for dipping into, as well as an inspiring and authoritative appraisal of this extraordinary artistic culture.

Published by Phaidon

304 pages

300 illustrations


290 mm x 250 mm

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