Byzantium, Rome, Crusader Kingdoms : exchanges and artistic interactions in the second half of the thirteenth century

Source document: Opuscula historiae artium. 2014, vol. 62, iss. Supplementum, pp. 48-61
  • ISSN
    1211-7390 (print)
    2336-4467 (online)
Type: Article
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A key role in the relations between Byzantium and Rome in the second half of the 13th century was played by the mendicant orders – Franciscan and Dominican – which, engaged in their evangelizing mission, constructed a network of monasteries from the Holy Land to Constantinople, Armenia and Georgia, even pushing as far as the Far East. The role of the Franciscans was also central in the unionist politics of the papacy promoted by popes Gregory X (1271–1276) and Nicholas IV (1288–1292). Against the background of this context two cases of monumental painting seem particularly significant. They are distant from each other but shared a common patron of Franciscan origin: the frescoes of the Kalenderhane Camii in Istanbul (1250) and the mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (1296). In both it is possible to identify, not only in the iconographic programme but also in the stylistic and technique choices, the joint presence of both Western and Byzantine elements which seems to suggest that interaction took place between Greek and Latin craftspeople. The restorations of the Santa Maria Maggiore mosaics completed in 2000 offer new elements along these lines.