Home Community News THE POWER OF THE PAST: CHURCH AS TEMPLE IN MIDDLE BYZANTINE MOSAICS

THE POWER OF THE PAST: CHURCH AS TEMPLE IN MIDDLE BYZANTINE MOSAICS

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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University is pleased to present Evan Freeman, an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Regensburg.
The event will be moderated by the Director of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies, Dimitris Krallis.
This event will be recorded and made available over Zoom.
Following the seminar, participants will be invited to reconvene at a nearby restaurant for a light meal and to continue the conversation.

Send an email to hscomm@sfu.ca if you have any questions or would like to register without using Eventbrite.

EVENT DESCRIPTION
A new synthesis of church architecture and monumental art emerged following the Byzantine Iconoclastic period of the eighth and ninth centuries. Domed, centrally planned churches displaced the basilica as the predominant church type and tended to be built on a smaller scale, while sophisticated monumental programs of mosaic and painted icons covered the many curved and faceted surfaces of these centrally planned churches. Within this new pictorial system, episodes from salvation history were fewer and more selective than in pre-Iconoclastic churches, delivering a focused vision that centered on the lives of Christ and the Virgin and paralleled recent theological and liturgical developments. This talk focuses on monumental depictions of two episodes: the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple and the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, which were celebrated as major feasts of the Byzantine church calendar. While both episodes were set in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, Middle Byzantine art often reimagined these scenes as if they were unfolding within contemporary Byzantine churches with Christian altars and other liturgical furniture. Such images encouraged Byzantine viewers to make mimetic connections between these ancient episodes in the Jewish temple and their own ritual spaces and experiences in the present. This talk considers sources for these images, as well as spatial and pictorial strategies that encouraged Byzantine viewers to engage in active, embodied ways with these figures and events of the past.

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