First published in 1930, this book deals with Byzantine art, not as an isolated province, but as one intimately connected with the subsequent history of European painting. After a summary of the whole question in its relation to modern art, the second chapter opens with a novel analysis of the iconoclast controversy, and shows how it was only by this movement that Hellenistic naturalism was finally vanquished and the seed of interpretational art planted in Europe in its stead. The third chapter reveals how this seed was nourished by the Constantinopolitan Renascence, and how that event, combined with the increasing humanisation of religious emotion, culminated, not only in Duccio and Giotto, but in the equally important work of their contemporaries at Mistra and Mount Athos. A detailed account of these works is given and in the last part of the book, the mystery of El Greco is finally resolved.
The book is based, not only on extensive research but on personal observation of nearly all the works mentioned, in Constantinople, Greece, Crete, Italy, and Spain. It is an important and exciting addition to the history of European Art and establishes, scientifically, theories which only existed in conjecture before its publication. The book includes 94 black and white plates.