By M. Hatzaki
A missed point of Byzantium, actual attractiveness appears to be like as a high quality with an unmistakable darkish aspect, referring to ambiguously to notions of strength, goodness, evil, masculinity, effeminacy, lifestyles and loss of life. tested as an characteristic of the human and, particularly, of the male physique, this examine of attractiveness refines our knowing of the Byzantine global.
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Additional resources for Beauty and the Male Body in Byzantium: Perceptions and Representations in Art and Text
In fact, contrary to Petrakova’s suggestion, beauty in Byzantium can be the attribute of a villainous, adulterous woman and a murderer alike. This is also the case in other Byzantine historical writing. Anna Komnene’s Alexiad is full of handsome villains, characters who are both physically beautiful and morally reprehensible. 40 Yet if Anna’s laudatory portrait of Bohemond’s good looks, for instance, can be explained in these terms, it would be hard to ascribe a similar agenda to Zonaras’s accounts of beautiful, yet morally unwholesome, characters.
Gender, the image and the mask of beauty The painted portraits of donors depicted in the context of Byzantine church schemes are evocative in their own right regarding the balance of beauty, ‘reality’ and idealization in the rendering of an individual’s likeness. In the case of the triple donor portrait in the twelfth-century church of Sts Anargyroi in Kastoria, Theodore Lemniotes, his wife Anna Radene and his son John are depicted in the presence of the Virgin. 55 Set close together, the figures of Theodore and John are similarly posed.
His small eyes are framed by wrinkles at the corners, while lines also mark his brow and cheeks. Unlike Nikephoros’s likeness, that of Anna’s presents a rounded face with smooth contours, regular features and flawless skin. Her arching eyebrows crown her large eyes, her mouth is highlighted by the colour on her carefully rendered lips. The male, physical individuality of Nikephoros is set against the female, featureless beauty of his wife. The evidence of imperial imagery appears to make a similar point.
Beauty and the Male Body in Byzantium: Perceptions and Representations in Art and Text by M. Hatzaki