Image and Imagination in Byzantine Art: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Image and Imagination in Byzantine Art

1st Edition

By Henry Maguire


368 pages

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The twelve studies contained in this second collection by Henry Maguire are linked together by a common theme, namely the relationship of Byzantine art to the imaginary. They show how art enabled the Byzantines not only to imagine the sacred events of the past, but also to visualize the invisible present by manifesting the spiritual world that they could not see. The articles are grouped around the following five topics: the depiction of nature by the Byzantines before and after iconoclasm, especially in portrayals of the earthly and the spiritual Paradise; the social functions and theological significance of classical artistic forms in Byzantine art after iconoclasm; the association between rhetoric and the visual arts in Byzantium, especially in contrast to the role played by liturgical drama in western medieval art; the relationship of the visual arts to Byzantine concepts of justice and the law, both human and divine; and portrayals of the two Byzantine courts, the imperial court on earth and the imagined court in heaven. The papers cover a wide range of media, including floor and wall mosaics, paintings in manuscripts and churches, ivory carvings, coins, and enamel work.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; The Nile and the rivers of Paradise; The medieval floors of the Great Palace; Paradise withdrawn; Epigrams, art, and the 'Macedonian Renaissance'; Magic and money in the early Middle Ages; The depiction of sorrow in Middle Byzantine art; Byzantine rhetoric, Latin drama and the portrayal of the New Testament; Medieval art in southern Italy: Latin drama and the Greek literary imagination; From the evil eye to the eye of justice: the saints, art, and justice in Byzantium; Abaton and oikonomia: St Neophytos and the iconography of the presentation of the Virgin; The heavenly court; Davidic virtue: the crown of Constantine Monomachos and its images; Index.

About the Author

Henry Maguire is Professor in the Art History Department at The Johns Hopkins University, USA.

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. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General