The most conspicuous characteristic of Byzantine Art (circa 4th Century through 1453 at the Fall of Constantinople) manifests itself in anti-naturalistic shapes. If classical art–which immediately followed medieval Byzantine art–was marked by realism, Byzantine art abandoned verisimilitude in favor of a more symbolic rendition of life.
Although not fully abstract in the ways that we think of abstract art today, Byzantine art was rendered using irregular shapes and angles in approaching life around it. Architecture in Byzantine art seemed to float over walls and structures in a separate reality independent of natural limits.
Marlilyn Stokstad eminently captures this in words: “No longer were images conceived of as windows opening into the world of matter. On the contrary, a Byzantine mosaic aimed to transcend matter and capture the intangible world of the spirit” (Medieval Art, Second Edition).
In the form of the Byzantine Diamond Cross Pendant (above) and the Rustic Diamond Cross Pendant (right), the flat Roman cross is stylized with dramatic flourishes and irregular patterns favoring a more symbolic and aesthetically pleasing allocation of the cross not supported by naturalistic sensibilities.
The only linear resemblance of the byzantine cross to the plain flat Roman cross on whose frame the Body of Christ was crucified, are the 4 arms and the foundational cross-shape that cannot be mistaken.
The Byzantine Diamond Cross Pendant from Apples of Gold Jewelry (above) is set with 0.50 Carats of diamonds and measures 1″ wide x 1 1/3″ tall.
The Rustic Diamond Cross Pendant is set with 0.44 Carats of diamonds and measures 3/4″ wide x 1″ tall (or 1 5/16″ tall with hoop/bale).
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Category: Jewelry History