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Hagia Sophia and Dome of the Rock

The development of art is a strong reflection of what is happening in society. It represents the ideals, longings, predicament, and aspirations of the people during a certain period. Artists during the 15th century produced works of art with that primarily focused on religious symbols and icons because it is a time of many invasions and riots. The terrors strengthened people’s grip on religious conviction. The invasions also brought contacts and influences of different traditions together, hence producing a new style in art. One of them is the Byzantine art that blends several traditions.

The Byzantine artists were influenced by both the Classical Greco-Roman style and the arts of the Near East. They combined vivid colors and elaborate designs, often using religious themes as symbols. Byzantine artists were especially noted for their skill in making mosaics. Mosaics are designs formed from thousands of small pieces of colored stone and glass. The mosaics that decorated Byzantine churches were the most brilliant use of this art form. Another typical form of Byzantine art was the icon. A small religious image usually painted on wood.

Icons regarded as holy were kept in both homes and Orthodox churches. Byzantine artists were also famous for their cut gems, metalwork, and illuminated manuscripts. The architecture and style of Hagia Sophia and the Dome of the Rock both use the Byzantine style but with marked differences. Art 2 The Church of Hagia Sophia by Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus The Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) in Constantinople exemplifies the characteristics of Byzantine architecture. Hagia Sophia also has a rich history. In 532 AD, fires and uprising ruined important buildings including this church.

Justinian undertook a huge project to rebuild the city. Out of this construction project rose the new and improved Hagia Sophia. The church became the city’s new cathedral and is regarded as largest and grandest church of the Mediterranean world. Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, two of the most prominent architects during that time were assigned with the construction of the building. They managed a large group of workers and builders. In building the Hagia Sophia, the two architects used only the best and quality materials from different parts of the empire.

Rome influence can be seen in the prophyry columns taken from an Egyptian temple in Heliopolis. The ivory and gold icons and ornaments are taken from ancient temples. The construction took five years to finish and during that period, was a very short time. In designing, Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus developed a new way of placing a rounded dome over a rectangular building. Light from the forty arched windows in the lofty central dome brilliantly lit the interior of Hagia Sophia. The splendid marble pillars and walls awed worshippers. The mosaics are set in gold, silver, and ivory, decorating the interior.

Significance: I believe that the construction of this church symbolizes the need to reconstruct the city, which was destroyed by countless warfare. The effort of the people and the government to use Art 3 only the best for its construction reflects their longing for new and better beginning for all. The church is a symbol of stability amidst the ruins during that time Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem The Dome of theRock is an Islamic shrine built about 690, by the 9th Caliph Abd al-Malik. It is the oldest Islamic structure in the world and is believed to stand on the site of the Hebrew temple of Solomon.

Inscriptions on its walls com from the holy writings of Islam. The dome is also Byzantine in style and is one of the more popularly known landmarks of Jerusalem Mark Twain described the Dome in the following words: “Everywhere about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars, curiously wrought altars, and fragments of elegantly carved marble – precious remains of Solomon’s Temple. The Moslems have always shown a disposition to preserve them with the utmost care. “ Significance: The Dome of the Rock reflects Jerusalem’s character as a meeting place for religions.

This structure survived many earthquakes and calamities. It reflects the Muslims unwavering faith and devotion to their religion. Comparisons: The architecture of Hagia Sophia and the Dome of the Rock are primarily both Byzantine. However, while the Hagia Sophia are more Christian in style, the Dome of the Rock is more Roman. The Dome of the Rock is much simpler as compared to the Hagia Sophia with its grand ornaments , designs and style. Conclusion: The Dome is an Islamic shrine yet has many Roman elements and is even situated in Jerusalem where residents are mostly Christians.

The Hagia Sophia, an Orthodox Church is situated in Turkey where most resident are Muslims and has Islamic art in its interiors. Art can indeed paved the way for unity and erased all differences by forming a new art with the combine elements of two previously opposing style and concepts.

References:

Allen, Jelesbeta. Literature on Byzantine Art 1892-1967. London: Mansell, 1973-76. Early Christian and Byzantine Constantinople (Monticello: Vance Bibliographies, 1982). Early Christian and early Byzantine architecture in Palestine (Monticello: Vance Bibliographies, 1982).

Early Christian architecture in the city of Rome (Monticello: Vance Bibliographies, 1982). Grabar, Andre, Christian iconography: a study of its origins: the A. W. Mellon lectures in the fine arts, 1961, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. ; [translated from the French MS. by Terry Grabar]. London, Routledge & K. Paul, 1969. Gough, Michael. The origins of Christian Art. New York, Praeger, [1974, c1973]. Vance, M. Byzantine architecture: a bibliography of English language references (Monticello: Vance Bibliographies, 1982). Victoria and Albert Museum. Early Christian and Byzantine Art. London : His Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1951.

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