- Neo-Byzantine architecture
Neo-Byzantine architecture is an architectural revival style, most frequently seen in religious, institutional and public
buildings. It emerged in 1840s in Western Europeand peaked in the last quarter of 19th century in the Russian Empire; an isolated Neo-Byzantine school was active in Yugoslaviabetween World War Iand World War II. Neo-Byzantine architecture incorporates elements of the Byzantine styleassociated with Eastern and Orthodox Christian architecture dating from the 5th through 11th centuries, notably that of Constantinople(present-day Istanbul) and the Exarchate of Ravenna.
Earliest example of emerging Byzantine-Romanesque architecture was the Abbey of Saint Boniface, laid down by
Ludwig I of Bavariain 1835 and completed in 1840. The basilica followed the rules of 6th century Ravennaarchitecture, although its corinthian orderwas a clear deviation from the historical Byzantine art. In 1876 Ludwig II of Bavariacommissioned Neo-Byzantine interiors of the Neuschwanstein Castle, complete with mosaic images of Justinian Iand Greek saints.
Theophil von Hansen became an Austian supporter of the style in 1850s. His major works belonged to
Neo-Grecstyle, however, Hansen as a professor of Byzantine art in University of Viennashaped a generation of architects that popularized Neo-Byzantine architecture in Austro-Hungary, Serbiaand post-war Yugoslavia. Hansen's own Neo-Byzantine work include the Greek Church of Trinity (1856—1858) in Vienna and Chistuskirche in Matzleindorf(1858—1860).
Sophia Cathedralin Pushkin(1782—1788) was the earliest and isolated experiment with Byzantine treatment of otherwise neoclassical structures. In 1830s Nicholas I of Russiapromoted the so-called "Russo-Byzantine" style of churches designed by Konstantin Thon. Nicholas I despised true Byzantine art; Thon's style in fact had little common with it. Notably, Thon routinely replaced the circular Byzantine arch with a keel-shaped gable, and the hemispherical Byzantine dome with an onion dome; layout and structural scheme of his churches clearly belonged to neoclassical standard.
True Byzantine art, popularized by
Grigory Gagarinand David Grimm, was adopted by Alexander II of Russiaas the de-facto official style of the Orthodox Church. Byzantine arhitecture became a vehicle of Orthodox expansion on the frontiers of Empire ( Congress Poland, Crimea, the Caucasus). However, few buildings were completed in Alexander II reign due to financial troubles. Alexander III changed state preference in favor of Russian Revivaltrend based on 16th-17th century Moscowand Yaroslavltradition, yet Byzantine architecture remained a common choice, especially for large cathedrals. Neo-Byzantine cathedrals concentrated in the western provinces (Poland, Lithuania), the Army bases in Caucasus and Central Asia, the Cossack hosts and the industrial region in Uralsaround the city of Perm. Architects David Grimmand Vasily Kosyakovdeveloped a unique national type of a single-dome Byzantine cathedral with four symmetrical pendetiveapses that became de-facto standard in 1880s-1890s.
The reign of Nicholas II was notable for the architects's turn from this standard back to
Hagia Sophialegacy, peaking in the Naval Cathedral in Kronstadtand Poticathedral. These designs employed reinforced concretethat allowed very fast construction schedule; their interiors contained clear references to contemporary Art Nouveauyet the exteriors were a clear homage to medieval Constantinople. Russian Neo-Byzantine tradition was terminated by the revolution of 1917 but was continued by emigrant architects in Yugoslaviaand Harbin.
In the United States and elsewhere, the Neo-Byzantine style is often seen in vernacular amalgamations with other
Medievalrevivalist styles such as Romanesque and Gothic, or even with the Mission Revival or Spanish Colonial Revival styles.
Notable American examples include many buildings on the campus of
Rice Universityin Texas, the Throne Room of the Neuschwanstein Castlewhich is modelled after Hagia Sophia, St. Francis de Sales Church in Philadelphia, Cathedral Basilica of St. Louisand the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conceptionbuilt between 1920 and 1959 in Washington, D.C.In the early 1980s, famed American architect Philip Johnsondesigned a Post-Modernistaddition to the Cleveland Play Housethat reflects Byzantine influences, and could thus be termed Neo-Byzantine.
From about 1850 to 1880 in the English city of
Bristola related style known as Bristol Byzantinewas popular for industrial buildings which combined elements of the Byzantine stylewith Moorish architecture.
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