Animal Style

Architectural Analysis Due











Portrait of Eutropios, citizen of Ephesus, ca. 450. Marble.











Virgin (Theotokos) and Child Enthroned, apse mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 867.











David Composing the Psalms, from the Paris Psalter, ca. 950 - 970. 14 1/8" X 10 ¼".











harp player

Male harp player, so-called Orpheus, from Keros (Cyclades), ca. 2600 - 2300 BCE. Marble, 9" high.










Common Byzantine depictions of Christ:
Good Shepherd
Youthful philosopher
Pantocrator = ruler of the Universe, as well as the All-Holder who contains everything
Christ as Pantokrator, dome mosaic in the Church of the Dormition, Daphne, Greece, ca. 1090 - 1100.











"Daphni Crucifixion," mosaic in the north arm of the east wall of the Church of the Dormition,
Daphni, Greece, ca. 1090 - 1100. Mosaic. Monastery Church, Daphni, Greece.











Merger of Byzantine and Classic Elements
Byzantine Elements:
  • Elongated figures
  • Linear illustration
  • Hierarchic scale
Classic Elements:
  • Nude Christ
  • Restrained and noble suffering
  • Prompts compassionate response
Dying Niobid, ca. 450 – 440 BCE. Marble, height 59”.











New Image of Christ
  • Crucifixion has lost its association with capital punishment
  • Instead, emptes pathos
  • Reminds viewer of sacrifice, appealing to pagan past
Crucifixion plaque, 10th century. Ivory, 5" × 4".











Master of Nerezi, Lamentation, Saint Pantaleimon, Nerezi, Macedonia. 1164. Fresco.











Douris, Eos and Memnon, Interior of an Attic red-figured kylix. ca. 490 – 480 BCE. Diameter 10 ½".











anastasis = Greek for resurrection, to raise and to rise
Gloriole - the circle of radiant light around the heads or figures of God, Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint. When it surrounds the head only, it is called a halo; when it surrounds the entire figure with a large oval it is called a madorla. It indicates divinity or holiness, though originally it was placed around the heads of kings and gods as a mark of distinction.
Anastasis, in the apse of the parekklesion of the Church of Christ (now the Kariye Museum), Istanbul, ca. 1310 - 1320. Fresco.











Medieval civilization reflects the integration of three distinct traditions:
Graeco-Roman or classic tradition
These Germanic peoples carried with them the animal style from the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley
Fragment of a belt, probably from Ziwiye. 7th century BC. Gold sheet, width 6 ½".











Islam in the East
  • Rapid religious and political expansion of Islam in the African and Near Eastern portions of Roman Empire
  • Thoroughly infiltrated Indus Valley (current Pakistan)
  • By 732, Islamic Arabs captured Spain and threatened France
  • 11th century Turks occupy much of Asia Minor
  • 1453 Turks conquer Constantinople











Barbarians in the West
Vandals - Northern Africa
Visigoths - Spain
Franks - Gaul
Ostrogoths & Lombards - Italy
Angles & Saxons - British Isles
Normans - Southern Italy











Animal style = generic term for the characteristic ornamentation of artifacts worn and carried by nomadic peoples who, for almost two millennia (B.C. into A.D.) migrated between China and western Europe.
Animal Style Characteristics:
Dominant feature is stylized animal/s
Heavy use of decorative elements
Disciplined, complex design
Composite characters
Metal craft
Primarily found on utilitarian objects
that are easily trade
Pair of Merovingian looped fibulae, from Jouy-le-Comte, France, mid-sixth century. Silver gilt worked in filigree, with inlays of garnets and other stones, 4" high.











Combat of the Bird and Serpent, 975. Illuminated parchment.
Visgothic eagle fibula, 6th century. Gold over bronze with gemstones, glass and meerschaum.











Celtic - Germanic Style

Cloisonne = technique where small metal strips are soldered edge-up to a metal background, then an enamel paste (subsequently to be fired) or semiprecious stones, or pieces of colored glass are placed in the compartments thus formed
Four pairs of motifs:
  • Standing man between facing animals
  • Predator/ victim
  • Fighting animals
  • Interlacing bands
Purse cover, from the Sutton Hoo ship burial. 625 - 633. Gold with garnets and enamels, length 8".











Bull-headed Lyre from Ur

Bull headed lyre from the tomb of Puabi, Royal Cemetery, Ur, ca. 2600 - 2400 BCE.
Gold leaf and lapis lazuli over a wooden core, approx. 5' 5" high.























Sutton Hoo ship burial purse reconstructed by Paul Roper and Paul Mortimer