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6 - Damned in Hell, Damned in the Church

Imagery and Space in Byzantium

from Part II - Eastern Mediterranean

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 October 2021

Angeliki Lymberopoulou
Affiliation:
The Open University, Milton Keynes
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Summary

Athanasios Semoglou examines the role of sponsorship and its influence on the iconographical depiction in Byzantine (Greek) Macedonia, arguing that donors affect the use and character of the monument chosen as their burial place. Semoglou vividly demonstrates the connection between the iconography of Hell and the hopes of the faithful for eternal life, which consists a strong motivation for donors to commission images of the Last Judgement. According to the author, the influence of sponsorship on the iconography of Hell can be detected in the illustration of parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31), the earliest example of which is found in the Church of Saint Stephen in Kastoria, dated to the end of the 9th or the beginning of the 10th century. Furthermore, the author asserts that during the middle Byzantine period two major changes occurred that led to the articulation of the dipole between sin/punishment and virtue/reward, the first being the consolidation of the Last Judgement in the narthex and the second its vertical alignment, both dominant characteristics in its later representations.

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Hell in the Byzantine World
A History of Art and Religion in Venetian Crete and the Eastern Mediterranean
, pp. 281 - 309
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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