Byzantinische Zeitschrift 113 (1):35-68 (2020)

Abstract
The present contribution engages with two representative examples of middle-Byzantine ekphraseis, Photios’ description of the Virgin of the Pharos and Leo VI’s account of the church founded by Stylianos Zautzes. It aims at showing how these texts suggest modes of viewing the sacred space and decoration that pose, more than settle, questions about images and pictures, their intended function, significance and impact within their specific cultural frames of reference. Far from being neutral and disengaged, these verbal representations have a specific agenda, which inflects the audience’s perception and interpretation of the decorated church space. Comparisons with coeval monumental evidence are also offered, in order to analyze textual and visual developments in parallel.
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DOI 10.1515/bz-2020-0003
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