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On the Origin of the Early Christian Artistic Tradition in Byzantine Chersonesos

Journal: Athens Journal of History (Vol.1, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ; ;

Page : 223-238

Keywords : ;

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Despite the considerable number of well known Byzantine centres, ChersonesosKherson is one of the few where systematic archaeological research has been conducted. More than 150 years of excavations at the site have resulted in the discovery of a significant number of artifacts. Among them a prominent place is taken by Christian churches. The elements of ornament, sculpture, monumental painting and mosaics which have remained intact allow us to make some assumptions about the origin and development of the artistic tradition. The early Byzantine mosaics are a subject of special interest. The main goal of this article will be to represent and analyse early Christian symbols of mosaic in Chersonesos-Kherson and in Syrian monuments. We would like to follow the direction of the origin of the artistic tradition in Chersonesos. The Byzantine mosaics of Chersonesos churches are those of peculiar interest, thus they always draw the researchers’ attention. It would seem difficult to add something further to this but we have came across some materials dedicated to the early Christian mosaics of Syria. Study and comparison of the floor mosaics of the early Christian centres of Syria and Tauris in combination with other kinds of sources, has uncovered new material regarding the process of the establishment of the artistic tradition of early Byzantine Chersonesos. To sum up, one can state with certainty that close contacts between the eastern provinces of the Empire and Chersonesos-Kherson made a substantial impact on many aspects of the city’s life, together with the spread of Christianity from the East. These artistic traditions were reflected in fresco paintings of the early Christian crypts of Chersonesos and in the mosaic floors of later churches. The existence of the artistic tradition was definitely reflected in the compositions of the floor mosaics of Chersonesos and Syrian churches. All this allows us to maintain that the system of floor mosaics paintings in Syria and Chersonesos has a common source. And, what is more, it would be logical to suggest that most of the artists belong to the Syrian artistic tradition.

Last modified: 2015-06-26 18:06:30