Byzantine stucco decoration (ca. 850-1453). cultural and economic implications across the Mediterranean

Vanni, Flavia ORCID: 0000-0001-5884-9179 (2021). Byzantine stucco decoration (ca. 850-1453). cultural and economic implications across the Mediterranean. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

This thesis offers the first synthetic evaluation of Byzantine stucco between the ninth and the fifteenth centuries. It brings together the results of disparate studies, with new material and textual evidence, to write, for the first time, a coherent narrative of the history of Byzantine stucco during the Middle and the Late Byzantine periods. This thesis demonstrates the uninterrupted use of stucco in Byzantine architecture from the Late Antique period onwards. It sheds light on the techniques used by Byzantine artisans to work stucco and examines their social and legal status in Byzantine society, providing a nuanced vision of both the skills and incomes of people in this period. A wide range of Byzantine patrons chose to decorate their buildings with stucco: from emperors to local officers and ordinary people. They used stucco to convey statements of authority or to underline their participation in networks of power. After having analysed stucco in Byzantine society, the thesis turns to wider Mediterranean stucco production, and examines differences and commonalities between Byzantine stucco and that produced in Medieval Italy and the different regions under Islamic reigns.

This thesis is an initial framework. This framework is threefold: the single building, the broader context of Byzantine art, and the stucco production in the Mediterranean. The case-by-case approach used revealed how the study of stucco, in combination with the rest of the materials used in architecture, is crucial to understand the history of buildings and the communities behind them. It is the interaction between micro and macro contexts that provides the core for understanding stucco in Byzantine architecture. This interaction is also what makes stucco a diagnostic material, which provides us with a new insight into Byzantine architecture.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Supervisor(s):
Supervisor(s)EmailORCID
Brubaker, LeslieUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Reynolds, Daniel KUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Macrides, RuthUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence: All rights reserved All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology (CAHA)
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11669

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