Byzantine Art: Justinian and Hagia Sophia

Byzantine Art: Justinian and Hagia Sophia

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One of the goals of Justinian emperor was to make sure he made a church that was bigger than all the others ever built. To achieve the goal, Justinian emperor hired the services of Isidore of Miletus who was a physicist and Anthemius of Tralles, who was a mathematician. The basilica was later used as a Roman Catholic cathedral (Mainstone 162).
From Procopius account it is evident that Justinian was committed to construction. Most of his outstanding constructions were churches in Constantinople, which included the Hagia Sophia. The presentation is categorical in noting that Justinian had to reconstruct the church after it was destroyed by Nika riots (Mainstone 162). As a result of all the works he made, it is evident that Justinian must have left a thing to be remembered by his subjects. One of the specific activities that might have caused his remembrance is the outstanding decorations that he had used on his constructions (Nelson 83). Some of the mosaics that Justinian made in the churches included him and his emperors. The artistic mosaics were spread to the rest of the Roman region.
One of the outstanding structures that would help Justinian Empire to be remembered was the dome of the church. Although it was destroyed by an earthquake, it was one of the architectural magnificent wonders that attracted a number of architects who adored it (Mainstone 165). Other than the dome, Lustration urns were also magnificent and they created the hyped interest on the church; the urns were curved out of marble blocks. The imperial gate to the structure was another outstanding structural phenomenon that had contributed to the respect accorded to the architects of the church and the emperor. The imperial gate is reported have been reserved for the emperors only. The upper gallery also had great mosaics that were used to preserve it. In addition to all the above stated artistic structures, Justinian emperor introduced figurative decorations on the walls. The decorations were different from those used by the other emperors. Some of the decorations included the image of Jesus at the centre of the dome. The church also had some of the greatest mosaics that included formed figures of Virgin Mary, saints and geometric images.

In all the structures and the differences introduced into the mode of construction of the third church, Justinian must have earned respect from his subjects not only because of his position as a ruler, but also as a role model (Nelson 100).

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From the manner in which the history of the emperor is stored, it is evident that his people must have considered him more than just an emperor when it comes to art and construction. His subjects may have considered him a staunch Christian as a result of the commitment he had put towards repairing Hagia Sophia Basilica. In addition to being a basilica, the church was a safe haven for wrong doers where they would get consolation (Mainstone 170). The YouTube clip gives a coherent encounter of Justinian as he constructed the basilica; but it fails to give the shortcomings of his reign.





Works Cited

Mainstone, Rowland J. Hagia Sophia: Architecture, structure, and liturgy of Justinian's great church (reprint edition). New York, NY: W W Norton & Co Inc, 1997. Print.
Nelson, Robert S. Hagia Sophia, 1850–1950: Holy wisdom modern monument. Chicago, CH: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Print.

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