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All cultural achievements, architecture, fine arts, poetry and ritual worship were part of the cult, and they enabled the believer to be elevated to the unearthly world through contemplation, but also through aesthetic experience.
The goal was not to show the material but the spiritual essence, an idea called the prototype: this process ensured the persistence of the Byzantine art canon over the centuries, with some minor stylistic evolution.
One its the key features was “naturally timeless and space less…” with a golden background that positioned each depiction from earthly reality.
The nose, if we look closer, has pores and small protrusions, so that its surface is not smooth, but uneven … Morris also notices that the portrait of a person is only slightly iconic, meaning “complete iconic sign always signifies something, because it itself represents the denotatum”, and continues,” it should be remembered that the iconic sign is similar to what it signifies, in certain aspects.
That’s why iconism is a matter of degree.” As already mentioned, the problem of representation and similarity is the foundation of the Byzantine image theory, strongly influenced by the Christian dogma.
Even though the images had unrealistic colors, the reverse perspective and abstract decorative forms, the anthropomorphism remained, as the reminder of the Gods’ incarnation.
St Demetrius of Thessalonica, Andrei Rublev, 1425–1427, The Trinity Cathedral in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, Russia The Hospitality of Abraham (Old Testament Trinity), XIV century, The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia This connection between the representation of human body in art and studies of divine incarnation was main argument during the iconoclasm debate.
However, Eco thinks this definition is pure tautology because “what does it mean to say that the portrait of Queen Elizabeth who painted Anigoni has the same traits as Queen Elizabeth herself?
” The common-sense answers: it’s because it has the same eye shape, the same hair color, the same stature… The nose has three dimensions and the picture only two.
The problem of representation and presence is a crucial part of the theological debate that took place during the period of iconography.
The Byzantine point of view was based on the division between the world of senses and the world of spirit; the material world had its ideal reflection in a harmonious supernatural world.