By Antony Eastmond
The church of Hagia Sophia in Trebizond, outfitted through the emperor Manuel I Grand Komnenos (1238-63) within the aftermath of the autumn of Constantinople to the Fourth campaign, is the best surviving Byzantine imperial monument of its interval. paintings and id in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium is the 1st research of the church in additional than thirty years, and is broadly illustrated in color and black-and-white, with many photographs that experience by no means formerly been released. Antony Eastmond examines the architectural, sculptural and painted of the church, putting them within the context of up to date advancements somewhere else within the Byzantine global, in Seljuq Anatolia and one of the Caucasian neighbours of Trebizond. wisdom of this quarter has been reworked within the final twenty years, following the cave in of the Soviet Union. the recent facts that has emerged permits a substantially diverse interpretation of the church to be reached, and opens questions of cultural interchange at the borders of the Christian and Muslim worlds of jap Anatolia, the Caucasus and Persia. This research makes use of the church and its ornament to check questions of Byzantine id and imperial ideology within the thirteenth century. this is often critical to any realizing of the interval, because the fall of Constantinople in 1204 divided the Byzantine empire and compelled the successor states in Nicaea, Epiros and Trebizond to redefine their strategies of empire in exile. artwork is right here exploited as major old facts for the character of imperial energy in a contested empire. it is strongly recommended that imperial id was resolute as a lot by means of craftsmen and expectancies of imperial energy as via the emperor's decree; and that this was once a reputable replacement Byzantine id to that constructed within the empire of Nicaea.
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Extra resources for Art and Identity in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium: Hagia Sophia and the Empire of Trebizond
The concept of Byzantium superficially remained the same, but it was gradually being remodelled to match the circumstances of Nicaea. And as this definition of Byzantium came to mirror the actual state of Nicaea, so too did it exclude any alternative definitions being promoted by its rivals. 32 John III Vatatzes and Theodore II Laskaris sought to explain their inheritance of power in different ways from the emperors of the previous thirty years. They did not exploit the rhetoric of renewal embodied in the idea of the 'new Constantine' which had been prevalent in previous centuries 33 This was possibly in recognition of the disparity between their reduced circumstances and the powers embodied in the rhetoric of the claim.
2 Establishing a series of political and cultural contexts within which to examine the church and its decoration also raises questions about the relationship between art and political or cultural change. As an approach, such a structure contains within it an implicit presumption that the church is merely created in response to external forces. One of the key features of the church is the number of elements of its design and decoration that can be associated with the art of its neighbouring cultures, in addition to those that relate to elements within Byzantine and Constantinopolitan art.
Trying to locate Trebizond within a notional mainstream of Byzantine art, Cyril Mango concluded that: 'The frescoes at St. 1 The image of the church that emerges from these accounts is of an essentially confused and eclectic building with mutually incompatible elements, which has little underlying rationale and the appearance of which was determined as much by accident as by design. Kilometre 1 Mount Minthrlon Trebizond in the mid-thirteenth century 2 The city of Trebizond in the mid-thirteenth century.