Form, Style and Meaning in Byzantine Church Architecture: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Form, Style and Meaning in Byzantine Church Architecture

1st Edition

By Hans Buchwald


352 pages

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Hardback: 9780860787792
pub: 1999-11-22
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Using detailed analyses of individual buildings as a point of departure, Professor Buchwald here examines various approaches to Byzantine architectural forms, and raises questions concerning the use of stylistic and other forms of analysis. One group of articles focuses on stylistic currents in Asia Minor, including that of the 13th-century Lascarid dynasty, previously unknown. Others explore methods which appear to have been used in the design of Byzantine churches, such as dimensional ’rules of thumb’, modular and geometric systems of proportion, and the quadratura, hitherto recognised only in Western architecture. The final essays pose further questions: what were the goals and achievements of Byzantine architects, when they transformed older existing buildings? How, and why, did they use stereometric Euclidean geometry? And was there any ultimately Platonic connection?


'…a refreshing and valuable approach…refreshing, because more and more often art historians are dispensing with the study of objects. Buchwald's formal observations demonstrate, however, the potential value of such inquiry. His formal analysis of Constantinian basilicas is a brilliant example of his subtle and nuanced reading of the architecture… The essays do indeed provide a worthwhile perspective on aesthetics, and I recommend them to all medieval architecture historians…. Books like these help us to be constructively self-conscious.' Aurora

Table of Contents

Contents: Part one: Individual Buildings: Saint Sophia, turning point in the development of Byzantine architecture?; The church of St John the Theologian in Alaehir (Philadelphia); Sardis Church E - a preliminary report; Part two: Architectural Forms in Asia Minor: Notes on the design of aisled basilicas in Asia Minor; Western Asia Minor as a generator of architectural forms in the Byzantine period, provincial back-wash or dynamic centre of production?; Lascarid architecture; Part three: Questions of Style and meaning: The concept of style in Byzantine architecture; Retrofit-hallmark of Byzantine architecture?; The first Byzantine architectural style: evolution or revolution?; Criteria for the evaluation of transitional Byzantine architecture; The geometry of Middle Byzantine Churches and some possible implications; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General