1st Edition

Late Byzantium Reconsidered The Arts of the Palaiologan Era in the Mediterranean

Edited By Andrea Mattiello, Maria Alessia Rossi Copyright 2019
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Late Byzantium Reconsidered offers a unique collection of essays analysing the artistic achievements of Mediterranean centres linked to the Byzantine Empire between 1261, when the Palaiologan dynasty re-conquered Constantinople, and the decades after 1453, when the Ottomans took the city, marking the end of the Empire. These centuries were characterised by the rising of socio-political elites, in regions such as Crete, Italy, Laconia, Serbia, and Trebizond, that, while sharing cultural and artistic values influenced by the Byzantine Empire, were also developing innovative and original visual and cultural standards.

    The comparative and interdisciplinary framework offered by this volume aims to challenge established ideas concerning the late Byzantine period such as decline, renewal, and innovation. By examining specific case studies of cultural production from within and outside Byzantium, the chapters in this volume highlight the intrinsic innovative nature of the socio-cultural identities active in the late medieval and early modern Mediterranean vis-à-vis the rhetorical assumption of the cultural contraction of the Byzantine Empire.

    List of illustrations



    Notes on contributors


    1. 'And the whole city cheered': the poetics and politics of the miraculous in the early Palaiologan period (Niels Gaul)

    2. Art in decline or art in the age of decline? Historiography and new approaches to Late Byzantine painting (Ivana Jevtic)

    3. The timeliness of timelessness: reconsidering decline in the Palaiologan period (Cecily J. Hilsdale)

    4. Reconsidering the Early Palaiologan period: anti-Latin propaganda, miracle accounts, and monumental art (Maria Alessia Rossi)

    5. How to illustrate a scientific treatise in the Palaiologan period (Andrew Griebeler)

    6. Looking beyond the city walls of Mystras: the transformation of the religious landscape of Laconia (Ludovic Bender)

    7. Remnants of an era: monasteries and lay piety in Late Byzantine Sozopolis (Georgios Makris)

    8. Palaiologan art from regional Crete: artistic decline or social progress? (Angeliki Lymberopoulou)

    9. Liturgical and devotional artefacts in the Venetian churches of the Levant, thirteenth to fifteenth century (Livia Bevilaqua)

    10. Who’s that man? The perception of Byzantium in fifteenth-century Italy (Andrea Mattiello)

    11. The story behind the image: the literary patronage of Tsar Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria between ostentation and decline (Lilyana Yordanova)

    12. Imperial portraits of the Grand Komnenoi of Trebizond (1204–1461) (Tatiana Bardashova)


    Andrea Mattiello holds a PhD from the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham, UK. His research focuses on the art, architecture, and visual cultural production of the Palaiologan period. In particular, he has worked on cross-cultural interactions at the court of Mystras in relation to the agency of the Italian and Frankish wives of the Byzantine despots of Morea, and on late medieval and early modern image production in the context of the exchanges between Greek scholars and Italian humanists.

    Maria Alessia Rossi completed her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2017 and is currently the Samuel H. Kress Postdoctoral Researcher at the Index of Medieval Art at Princeton University, USA. Her main research interests include medieval art and architecture in the Byzantine and Slavic cultural spheres, artistic production and patronage in the Mediterranean, cross-cultural contacts and eclecticism in art between the Eastern and Western Christian world, the role of the miraculous, image theory, and gender theory.

    ‘[This book] provides valuable studies on the period and opens the interest to wider scholarly areas’ - HIPERBOREEA