2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference


The Hosios Loukas Monastery: The Form and Function of Middle Byzantine Church Decoration
Nicholas S. Beydler
Dr. Steven Reschly and Prof. Martha L. Rose, Faculty Mentors

The Hosios Loukas monastery in Greece, arguably the greatest remnant of Middle Byzantine (9th-11th centuries) church decoration, contains two churches that are outstanding and well-preserved examples of the artistic style and decorative program of the period after Iconoclasm. While artistically impressive, the mosaics and wall-paintings in the Great Church and the frescoes in the Crypt church below it were not designed primarily for their aesthetic merit. This paper, which was presented on-site at Hosios Loukas in the summer of 2005, illustrates how the monastery’s artwork embodies the functional principle underlying Middle Byzantine church decoration. The artwork in the Great Church is exemplary of the Middle Byzantine church’s highly formal use of art to accompany worship and to communicate Orthodox theology. The artwork in the Crypt is linked to the church’s liturgical function as a funerary chapel as well as to its central role in the healing sanctuary of St. Luke.

Keywords: Byzantine, art history, mosaic, Greece, healing, Orthodox Church, theology, church decoration

Topic(s):Study Abroad

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 58-3
Location: OP 2115
Time: 3:15

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