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A Byzantine Century

Reassessing Neo-Byzantine Style from Paris to Algiers to Tiflis – and Beyond (ca. 1800 – 1920)

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Published on Thursday, May 16, 2024

Abstract

In the wake of blossoming discussions on the reception history of the Middle Ages, this conference attempts to rethink the protean and eclectic term “Neo-Byzantine” from a broad perspective. We are particularly interested in the complex articulation between art historical theory, architectural and artistic practice, and the actual patronages and uses of the “Neo-Byzantine.” We invite scholars dealing with the issue from a broad chronological (1800–1920) and geographical frame, bridging Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. We especially welcome are case studies or broader reflections on the uses of “Neo-Byzantine” architecture in processes of identity and nation-building and within frameworks of orientalism and colonialism.

Announcement

Hans Belting Library, Department of Art History, Masaryk University, Brno

December 10–11, 2024

Argument

The “Byzantine style” revival in the second half of the nineteenth century manifested antithetical aesthetic parameters based on geography, chronology, and ideology. Some countries adhered to an alleged filial heritage with Byzantium, and thus Neo-Byzantine came to represent continuity with the Empire of Constantinople and Orthodoxy. For the Russian Empire, it visually expressed expansionism within colonized territories such as Poland or Georgia. In Austria-Hungary, it played a role in controlled regions such as Dalmatia – prompting strong nationalist reactions in the Balkans. It materialized the Cyrillo-Methodian tradition, the “Apostles of the Slavs” venerated in the Czech lands and other Slavic regions. In Prussia, mediated through Byzantine art in Ravenna and Sicily, it was linked with divine kingship and the origins of ecclesiastical authority. In France, a surprising blend of Romanticism, Catholic revival and historicist eclecticism produced some of the most recognizable nineteenth-century buildings, from Lyon to Marseille to Paris, and it became a colonial tool in territories like Algeria. In Britain, interest in Byzantine design and Byzantine mosaic informed the budding Arts & Crafts movement. The list of mobilizations of the revivalist style is seemingly endless…

In many of these examples, visually quoting the Byzantine was an alternative to other historicist styles that reference the medieval past. As such, it was intimately tied to an evolving periodization and historicist eclecticism shaped by scholarly discussions on terms developed and defined in the years between 1800 and 1850 such as “Gothic”, “Romanesque”, and “Byzantine” itself, but also a variety of architectural orientalisms ranging from “Saracenic” to “Moorish.” These mixed references to “Byzantine” style were applied not only to the construction (and restoration) of Christian churches, but also synagogues, mosques, and secular buildings, in an overlapping dialogue between aesthetics and ideology.

In the wake of blossoming discussions on the reception history of the Middle Ages, this conference attempts to rethink the protean and eclectic term “Neo-Byzantine” from a broad perspective. We are particularly interested in the complex articulation between art historical theory, architectural and artistic practice, and the actual patronages and uses of the “Neo-Byzantine.” We invite scholars dealing with the issue from a broad chronological (1800–1920) and geographical frame, bridging Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. We especially welcome are case studies or broader reflections on the uses of “Neo-Byzantine” architecture in processes of identity and nation-building and within frameworks of orientalism and colonialism. 

The conference will be held at the Hans Belting Library, Department of Art History, Masaryk University in Brno, from December 10 to 11, 2024. The organization will cover the costs of accommodation, meals, and offer reimbursement –within reasonable bounds – for travel expenses. This conference is the kickstart conference of the project “Dreaming Byzantium in Nineteenth-Century France: Neo-Byzantine Architecture, Orientalism, and the Racial and National Myths of Art History (1848–1900)”, Czech Science Foundation, GA24-10991S.

Organizers

  • Dr. Adrien Palladino, adrien.palladino@phil.muni.cz
  • Dr. Jan Galeta, galeta@phil.muni.cz
  • Annalisa Moraschi, M.A., annalisa.moraschi@gmail.com

Submission guidelines

Researchers wishing to contribute are invited to send their proposal, including a title, a short abstract (300 words) and CV, to adrien.palladino@phil.muni.cz

by May 31, 2024.

Places

  • Hans Belting Library, Building K, Department of Art History, Masaryk University - Veveří 470/28
    Brno, Czechia (60200)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Friday, May 31, 2024

Attached files

Keywords

  • nineteenth-century art, revival architecture, byzantine studies, medievalism, orientalism, historicism, ethnicity, race, nationalism, colonialism, romanesque, gothic, byzantine art, moorish revival, architectural orientalism, art and politics, art and rel

Contact(s)

  • Adrien Palladino
    courriel : adrien [dot] palladino [at] phil [dot] muni [dot] cz

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Adrien Palladino
    courriel : adrien [dot] palladino [at] phil [dot] muni [dot] cz

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« A Byzantine Century », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, May 16, 2024, https://calenda.org/1163243

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