Art and Architecture in Byzantium and Armenia: Liturgical and Exegetical Approaches

By Safran, Linda | The Catholic Historical Review, October 1997 | Go to article overview

Art and Architecture in Byzantium and Armenia: Liturgical and Exegetical Approaches


Safran, Linda, The Catholic Historical Review


Art and Architecture in Byzantium and Armenia: Liturgical and Exegetical Approaches. By Thomas E Mathews. [Variorum Collected Studies Series CS510.] (Brookfield, Vermont: Variorum, Ashgate Publishing Company. 1995. Pp. xii, 295. $124.95.)

This is another in the Variorum series of collected studies containing, like the others, reprints of the author's articles culled from disparate and often hard-tofind sources.These span the period from 1962 to 1994 and demonstrate Mathews' continued interest in the interrelated areas of liturgy, architecture, and church decoration. The author's brief introduction acknowledges that additional debate on some of these topics has taken place in print, and that at least one of his studies "requires modification" in the light of later archaeological work. Unfortunately, even though only three of the included studies postdate 1986, the introduction refers to fewer than a dozen additional titles (two by Mathews himself) that update the research here. The book is extensively illustrated with black-and-white prints of varying quality, and there is a brief index. Numerous typographical errors in the original articles have not been corrected.

Studies I-III deal with architecture and liturgy: "An early Roman chancel arrangement and its liturgical uses;' "Architecture and liturgy in the earliest palace churches of Constantinople" (translated from its original publication in French), and "'Private' liturgy in Byzantine architecture: toward a re-appraisal." The latter study in particular remains fundamental, but all of them demonstrate the author's familiarity with Greek and Latin texts as well as with archaeological material.

Studies IV-VI are largely descriptive reports on Armenian and Byzantine churches, from the very brief "Observations on St Hripsime" to the longer "Notes on the Atik Mustafa Papa Cam in Istanbul and its frescoes" and "Observations on the church of Panagia Kamariotissa on Heybeliada (Chalke), Istanbul. …

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