Architectural monuments of the countries.
Byzantine culture, like the culture of other medieval states, is a very complex, but still a single system of cultural values. Changes occurring in one of the spheres of culture immediately affect the other. The close connection, the mutual influence of all types of culture – the law of their development. Although, of course, the general phenomena-the struggle of the old with the new, the emergence of new trends – took place in different branches of culture in different ways. Their comparison and typologization will help to identify the main directions of the evolution of Byzantine culture.
It is possible, in particular, to outline the main ways of the development of Byzantine fine art in the classical Middle Ages. From the X-XI centuries. in art, lush decorativeness dominates. Solemn munamuntalism is increasingly combined with complicated symbolism. The victory of the generalized spiritualistic principle in aesthetics leads to the dissolution of the diversity of the real world in symbols, the artist seeks to free himself from unnecessary, annoying details that, in his opinion, do not reveal the main idea of the work. In painting and architecture, a strict, rational symmetry, a calm, solemn balance of lines and movements of human figures on frescoes and mosaics of temples begins to prevail. Visual art takes on a timeless and out-of-space character; the abstract golden background, so beloved by the Byzantine workshops, replaces the real three-dimensional space, performing an important aesthetic function: it is intended to fence off the abstract image. this or that phenomenon depends on the living activity of the surrounding world. Stylized architectural assemblies, fantastic landscapes of the background make everything more abstract and are often replaced by gold or purple planes. The artist’s work now acquires a faceless character, it is constrained by tradition and church authority, and the impulses of individual creative searches of the master are subordinated to the leveling action of the canon.
In church architecture, by that time, the basilica as a form of cultural building in the form of an elongated three-nave building was becoming obsolete. Its place was taken by a cross-domed church, which had the shape of a cross with equal branches and a dome in the center. The formation of cross-domed architecture was a genuine and complex process. Its beginning can be traced back to the VI century, when a masterpiece of domed architecture was created – Sofia of Constantinople, and its completion is mainly in the X century. In the X-XII centuries. cross-domed architecture began to rise both in Byzantium itself and in neighboring countries, but this type of cultural architecture was only a general outline, on the basis of which its various variants developed. The appearance of the cross-domed architecture was associated with a change in social relations and aesthetic ideas in the empire.
New trends have also emerged in the changing social content of architecture. First of all, there is a reduction in the scale of the temple. Grandiose temples for the people are a thing of the past. Relatively small churches intended for a city block, a rural parish, a monastery, or a castle are widely used. At the same time, the temple grows in height: the proportions of the building change, the vertical becomes the prevailing idea, the aspiration to the height gives a new emotional and aesthetic content to the cult architecture. If earlier the main role in the cult architecture was played by the internal space, the dome looked from the inside and symbolized the Universe, then in the XI-XII centuries the appearance of the temple is becoming increasingly important. The decoration of the facade of the building was now part of the overall architectural plan, in a single composition. Instead of closed, with wide, sandy, smooth planes of closed facades and walls, new architectural forms of the exterior now appear: facades are divided, decorated with light columns and semi-columns, the number of narrow and long window openings is growing, and asymmetry appears for the first time. The external decor of the building becomes a self-sufficient element of architecture, increases its artistic expressiveness.
In the architecture of the exterior, color and various decorative decorations were boldly and with great taste introduced. Widely began to apply facade cladding with multicolored stones, brick patterns, decorative alternating layers of red brick (plinths) and white mortar, bright tiles in the form of friezes. The color created a completely new artistic appearance of the temples. Finally, this new style developed in the XI century, but reached its apogee in the XII century. Over the course of two centuries, the most detailed development of the main features of the new style takes place. The connection between the external and internal appearance of the temple becomes more noticeable, the airiness, lightness, and elegance of architectural proportions increases, the columns in the temple become thinner, the drum of the dome becomes longer – it becomes light, slender, with many vertical divisions, with windows that enhance the lighting effect. In the inner space of the temple, the architects strive to achieve great unity. There is a strict centrality and an increase in the dome space, the beauty of the temple is now largely determined by its aspiration to the sky. In the external design of the temple, sometimes there is a pyramidal rhythm, openwork and colorful facades, light-and-shadow contrasts. The architectural forms of the temples of the second half of the XI-XII centuries become more refined, more perfect, more cheerful, their colorful openwork and lightness are in sharp contrast with the dull, harsh, axetic exterior appearance of the buildings of the previous time.
The old isolation and detachment were a thing of the past, and the temple was now to be seen not only inside but also outside.
However, on a large territory of the empire, the old and new forms of cult architecture have long coexisted. In some areas, certain architectural trends prevailed. In Greece, the traditions of ancient and early Byzantine architecture were particularly strong. In the XI century, monumental churches were built here, preserving much of the earlier architecture, but also bearing elements of the new style. Among them are the famous monuments of architecture and painting: the catholicon of the monastery of Hosios-Lucas in Phocis and the monastery of Daphnia near Athens. The cathedral of the monastery of Hosios-Lukas was erected by Emperor Basil II to glorify his military victories and was repeatedly completed. This is a huge five-relief temple, above which a dome rises, resting on a low drum. Thanks to the extensive narfik, the temple has a shape that is elongated from west to east. A large number of window openings creates a contrasting play of light and shadow in sunlight. The Byzantine architects achieved harmony of appearance and interior decoration in this cathedral. The austerity of the architectural forms that preserved the ancient monumentality, combined with the features of the new style, the elegance of the cornices and carved capitals, the use of marble cladding in pastel tones – all this creates the impression of simplicity and solemnity.
The temple of the monastery of Dafea near Athens (late XI) is smaller than the cathedral of Hosios-Lucas, but perhaps this is what gives it a special integrity and harmony. It is much more soaring than its predecessor, less monumental and cumbersome. The proportions of the temple of Daphne are characterized by durability and plasticity. The exterior of the building is strict and expressive. Its decor is not overloaded with details, but at the same time it is quite elegant. The decoration of the dome, window openings, and apse with small semi-columns, semicircular arches, and patterned masonry is widely used. While preserving the ancient architectural foundations, this temple shows at the same time the increasing influence of the new style in Byzantine architecture.