The After Lives of Byzantine Art
Lecture by Antony Eastmond (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Given at Central European University on May 9, 2014
Anna Christidou’s research was devoted to art on the edges of the Byzantine world – both physically in her work on Albania, and chronologically in her interest in post-Byzantine art. She was interested in the way that the legacy and meaning of Byzantine art was contested by different parties and at different times. This lecture in Anna’s memory after her untimely death in September 2013, considers some of the issues raised by her research interests – although taking very different examples.
The emperor Michael VII Doukas appears in the enamels of St Stephen’s crown, Hungary’s greatest treasure, now guarded in the parliament building in Budapest. The same emperor also appears in an enamel plaque on the Khakhuli Triptych, the greatest icon preserved in Tbilisi. In this lecture I will look at the ways in which Byzantine art was used at both ends of the Byzantine world. I will consider how we define art as ‘Byzantine’ and the ways in which the afterlives of these artworks have been manipulated, rewritten and reinterpreted in various settings.
Antony Eastmond is AG Leventis Reader in the History of Byzantine Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He has written extensively on the art and culture of medieval Georgia, and its relations with Byzantium. He also works on Byzantine ivories. He is author of The Glory of Byzantium and Early Christendom (Phaidon, 2013), as well as a study of the empire of Trebizond: Art and Identity in thirteenth-century Byzantium (Ashgate, 2008). He currently holds a Leverhulme Fellowship and is working on a study of cultural interaction in eastern Anatolia on the eve of the Mongol invasions.