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Art Comparison of Late Antique (Roman) and Byzantine Art


Art is independent since it represents the artist’s thinking, making all kinds and natures of artistic works unique. A notable contributor to art’s uniqueness is the internal factors influenced by the artist and the external factors. Consequently, the era and environment in which artists are born and life affects their delivery. As a result, art is majorly characterized, influenced, and described according to the era of creation (Herrin, 2016). Our research will focus on noteworthy differences between art conceptualized and actualized in the Late Antique by Roman with Byzantine Art. Notable differences will aid our research to identify the difference between the two nature of art and their purpose and creating processes.

Comparison between Late Antique (Roman) and Byzantine Art

One notable difference between the Roman and Byzantine periods of art is that as the Roman era faded away, the Byzantine era was invented and introduced. As a result, Roman art was the originator of art, leading to the art invented in the Byzantine period taking some notable aspects from Roman art. For instance, Roman art is characterized by its making and display compared to Byzantine art, which appears smaller in size and shape (Kiilerich, 2021). Nonetheless, in terms of the details in an artistic presentation, the Roman arts can be described as flat and those lacking details due to their lack of touches that portrayed decorations more. The Byzantine Art on its side can be described as detailed and full of emphasis on its finishing. For example, Byzantine Arts had touches of decorations perfected in texture and appearance. Therefore, its finishing was way better compared to the roman art finishing.

From another angle of comparison, the Byzantine Art features and characteristics differed from the Roman Art, indicating a major difference between the two artworks. Remarkably, Byzantine Art was characterized by its imagery full of style and perfect finishings, which was done over a naturalistic depiction (Herrin, 2016). As a result, the imagery’s message was clear as it would be seen, making the art outstanding in detail. Floating figures were also a notable characteristic among and within Byzantine Art, a clear indication of the focus of the art in terms of their target audience and consumers (Kiilerich, 2021). Byzantine Art was hence noted to have its audience as religious people, from its imagery and context of its images. Many images and art admiring the church were linked to Byzantine Art, explaining their floating figures and graceful and golden tesserae.

On the other hand, Roman art was the complete opposite of Byzantine Art due to its thickness and vagueness in presentation. Irrespective that Roman art touched religion and the church, its texture noted much difference (Decheva, 2021). Towers that were round in shape and full of arches were present in Roman art. In addition, in paintings and art that mainly indicated the presence of a religious icon, such as a church, small windows and thick walls with no perfect finishing were observed (Kiilerich, 2021). The Roman art imitated biblical scenes, but vaguely since sculptures were the only notable and identical characteristics in the art. Domestic life and livelihood were also represented in Roman art, but in an ambiguous way that never gave livelihood details.

The two types of art are different in the style of conceptualization and making; due to the age and era difference, the two skills had a difference in their styling. For instance, Byzantine Art was stylistic compared to Roman art. The styling of Byzantine Art indicated that it lacked a natural touch and feel (Herrin, 2016). Moreover, Byzantine art used golden mosaics in its composition, an additional indicator that the art was a little more modern than Roman art. No extravagant drawing style was noted for Roman art, meaning that the art was of an earlier era than Byzantine art. Moreover, characteristics such as a golden mosaic and canvas are lacking in Roman art, showing its simple style of conceptualization and making.

Christianity had a significant impact on Byzantine Art compared to Roman Art, which relates to religion and influence on the conceptualization of art. When Byzantine Art was being made, Christianity had taken effect hence the art being majorly developed under it. From different artworks created in the Byzantine Art, therefore, the art is dominated by Christian themes since the art was introduced while they were being made when Christianity was trending and leading culture of the era (Kiilerich, 2021). However, its central influence on Roman art was the ancient Greek idioms. When the art was fashionable, the most trending religion or religious activity was the Greek’s idioms, changing and diverting its artistic works.

Additionally, Romanesque designs grew and transit from Byzantine procedures due to their evolved nature and possession of polishing details the original Romanesque designs never possessed (Decheva, 2021). Notably, churches in the Romanesque era were noted to be more significant and huge than those in the Byzantine era. More meaningful and longer art pieces were developed and conceptualized from their influence. On the other hand, Byzantine Art originated from older sculptures and designs hence being vaguely finished.


In conclusion, both the Roman and Byzantine Art and sculptures For instance, despite having different ideologies, both showed the value of religion and domestic livelihood by making a lot of difference in their art. Nonetheless, Byzantine Art had invisible touches of spiritual words and images that Roman art does not possess. On its side, however, Roman art was noted to e smoother, including a more natural approach and representation and mystery in its making.


Herrin, J. (2016). Late antique origins of the ‘Imperial Feminine’. Byzantinoslavica-Revue internationale des Etudes Byzantines74(1-2), 5-25.

Kiilerich, B. (2021). Chromatic variation in late antique rainbows.

Decheva, P. (2021). Trace the Untraceable: Online Image Search Tools for Researching Late Antique Art. Heritage4(4), 4076-4104.


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