Byzantine Art, Cubism, Surrealism
DOI link for Byzantine Art, Cubism, Surrealism
Byzantine Art, Cubism, Surrealism book
Universality of spatial conventions results in universality of world views Ernst Cassirer
Archaism in the Heart of Modernism
The Ancient Greek visual and spatial tradition was extremely vital in very many ways, ontological, artistic, philosophical and more, to simply vanish as the old world waned. Its aura and principles were transmitted to the fledgling Byzantine Empire, a political, religious and aesthetic universe phenomenologically opposite, which, as the cradle of the Orthodox Christian dogma, is still relevant; indeed, the pillar of the ancient tradition never died out.1 Byzantine modernizing projects2 were always measured against the antiquity. The sustained continuity within the representational artillery of the Greek art never accepted to view the world through the immovable, Cyclopean eye of the Renaissance3 and its canonical perspective interpretation of the world, even though there was sufficient geometrical knowledge for this, as this reader knows by now. Rather, a revelatory approach that sweeps space in all directions through the eyes and interacts with it was favoured. The spatial background in ancient paintings and vases established an unassailable tradition which was transmitted, through Hellenistic art, to Byzantine pictorial and architectonic spatialities, the interior of churches in particular, as an anti-perspective outlook and as an exchange of visual energy between divine persons and the congregation.4 Philosophy and aesthetics, both ancient and Byzantine, were never organized in coherent systems. Instead, they maintained flexibility and a conceptual richness which resulted from the close affinity between abstract thought, art, myth and religion.