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Kazimierz Chłędowski a kultura bizantyńska

Maj, Jacek

English Title: Kazimierz Chłędowski and Byzantine culture

In: Miziołek, Jerzy ; Maj, Jacek (Hrsgg.): Kazimierz Chłędowski: pisarz i badacz kultury. Krossen 2007, pp. 159-181

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Translation of abstract (English)

According to Kazimierz Chłędowski the most characteristic feature of the art of the Byzantine Empire is its decline from the traditions of Antiquity due to the influence of the Oriental civilisations. Not a single work of Byzantine art is mentioned in his description of Constantinople (1896). In his account Byzantium is identified with the Ottomans, the embodiment of decadence and luxury, and branded "Asian" as opposed to the "European" Greek and Roman civilisations. Chłędowski emphasises the characteristics which exemplify the stereotype of Byzantium still prevalent in his times: despotism, no sense of creativity, archaism, luxury, ceremonial, corruption and hierarchism. In his publications on Italian culture Chłędowski reinforces the modern prejudices against Byzantine art. He observes it through the eyes of Cennini and Vasari. He sees the maniera greca, characterised by its longue durée, as devoid of innovation. For him the "Byzantine style" epitomises bad taste and a "corrupt imagination". He mentions a few of the most famous illuminated manuscripts: the 6th century Rossano Gospels (Rossano, Museo Diocesano); the Rabbula Gospels, dated 586 (Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Ms. Plut. I. 56); the Menologion of Basil II, dated ca. 985 (Vat. gr. 1613) and the late 10th century Paris Psalter, (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Ms. gr. 139). He describes the frescoes in Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome, discovered in 1900 by Giacomo Boni, and an icon of the Virgin Mary in the Roman Pantheon, dated before A.D. 609. He gives a vivid account of the revival of Greek studies in Renaissance Italy. Applying the criteria of Western realism in his judgement of Byzantine art, Chłędowski does not differ much from other Polish late 19th and early 20th century art historians. This negative image of the art of the Byzantine Empire would not begin to change until the end of nineteenth century, when archaeological and historical research on Byzantium started.

Document type: Book Section
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2011 12:35
Faculties / Institutes: Research Project, Working Group > Individuals
DDC-classification: Arts
Controlled Subjects: Chledowski, Kazimierz, Byzantinisches Reich, Kunst
Subject (classification): Architecture
Countries/Regions: Near East
Collection: ART-Dok Central and Eastern Europe