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HOME : Byzantine Art : Byzantine Metalwork : Byzantine Bronze Icon Depicting Saint Michael
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Byzantine Bronze Icon Depicting Saint Michael - FJ.9003
Origin: Jerusalem
Circa: 400 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high x 2.4" (6.1cm) wide
Collection: Biblical Antiquities
Style: Byzantine
Medium: Bronze


Location: UAE
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Description
Byzantine is the term commonly used since the 19th century to refer to the Greek-speaking Roman Empire of the Middle Ages centered in the capital city of Constantinople. During much of its history, it was known to many of its Western contemporaries as the Empire of the Greeks, due to the dominance of the Greek language and culture. However, it is important to remember that the Byzantines referred to themselves as simply as the Roman Empire. As the Byzantine era is a period largely fabricated by historians, there is no clear consensus on exactly when the Byzantine age begins; although many consider the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great, who moved the imperial capital to the glorious city of Byzantium, renamed Constantinople and nicknamed the “New Rome,” to be the beginning. Others consider the reign of Theodosius I (379-395), when Christianity officially supplanted the pagan beliefs, to be the true beginning. And yet other scholars date the start of the Byzantine age to the era when division between the east and western halves of the empire became permanent. Regardless of when it began, the Byzantine Empire continued to carry the mantle of Greek and Roman Classical cultures throughout the Medieval era and into the early Renaissance, creating a golden age of Christian culture that today continues to endure in the rights and rituals of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

This bronze icon depicts Saint Michael, the archangel, rendered in low relief. He stands wearing an embroidered robe, his feathered wings splayed outwards behind him. In one hand he hold a spear, in the other a globe symbolizing the Orbis Mundi. The stylization of the figure reveals that the ancient sculptor was more concerned with depicting the spiritual weight of the subject as opposed to the natural appearance of things that so concerned artists in the Classical era before it and the Renaissance era that was yet to come.
- (FJ.9003)

 

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