Eventually Byzantine artists in the eastern portion of the Roman empire began to break away from the classical styles and created a new style filled with symbolism and a magnificent use of space especially through the use of a dome to represent the "dome" of heaven.
Some characteristics of Byzantine Church Architecture:
|Cross-section of Hagia Sophia|
* cross shaped building (usually a Greek cross - two arms of almost equal length)
* round arches
* circular windows
* mosaics (or frescoes) decorating the interior
* the dome functions symbolically as the "vault of heaven" and was the focus of the structure
* central plan structures were first used as tombs, baptistries and shrines to martyrs
* later developed into churches
* Constantinople was inspiration for Byzantine style in other areas
See these links for more info on Byzantine architecture:
http://www.buffaloah.com/a/archsty/byz/index.html (this page has links to examples of Byzantine architecture at the bottom of the page)
|Mosaic of the Emperor Justinian|
EXAMPLES OF ART:
I focused on the Hagia Sophia Cathedral and showed the children various photos of the exterior and interior. There are many photos on the internet (see http://www.hagiasophia.com/listingview.php?listingID=19&name=Gallery) and I have included some here that are in the public domain (click on any of the images here to see them larger). You might mention to the children that the minarets were added later when the area came under Ottoman rule and are not original to the design.
|Floor Plan of the Hagia Sophia|
|Interior of Hagia Sophia|
Here are some links with examples of Byzantine architecture that you may find helpful:
http://www.learn.columbia.edu/ha/html/byzantine.html (this website has some nice 360 degree panoramas - you will need QuickTime to run it.)
PROJECT: We did a very simple project for this lesson. I gave the children pencils, markers and paint and had them design their own Byzantine style building. I included some gold paint since the use of gold is very prevalent in Byzantine art and architecture. I used standard sized white card stock for their pictures so they would fit in their 3-ring binders and the card stock is sturdier for painting. You can use any kind of paper however.
Another idea if you would like to focus on the layout of the interior of a Byzantine style church (or a basilican style church as a contrast) is to have the child(ren) build a floor plan of a church out of some sort of blocks (such as wood blocks, Legos, etc.). Then you could point out the different areas such as the narthex, apse, nave, etc. This would be a great project for the kinesthetic learner.
I used the same handout as I did for the other Byzantine Art lesson as these two lessons really go together. Again, it would be a good idea to present this lesson on architecture first if you are using the Story of the World as it gives a nice introduction to mosaics which we discussed in the second lesson. Here is a link to the handout I created: Byzantine Art Vocabulary Handout
And here is a link to the other lesson I posted on Byzantine Art.