Volume 1, 1998
Aesthetics and Philosophy of the Arts
The Power of Symbolism in Byzantine Art
Our deeply visual culture today shows the fascination humanity has with the power of images. This paper intends to discuss the use and importance of images within the context of Byzantine art. The works produced in the service of the Eastern Orthodox Church still employed today, show a remarkable synthesis of doctrine, theology and aesthetics. The rigid program of Church decoration was meant as a didactic element to accompany the liturgy. The majesty of the images bespeaks of the Glory of God and the spiritual realities of the Christian faith. The images were intended to educated and provide contemplation of the invisible realm of the spirit. Byzantine aesthetics, therefore, is thoroughly in the service of theology.