Art & Architecture of the Byzantine Church

Ref: C3671317

We will explore the impressive architecture and decoration of early Byzantine churches, emerging at the end of the Roman period and flourishing in the 5th and 6th Centuries AD; examining, in particular, the imperial capitals of Constantinople and Ravenna and the monastic sites of Greece. We will look at liturgical artefacts as well as the decorative arts and the structure of the buildings.

Course aim

The aim of the course is to look in depth at the architecture and art of early Byzantine church structures in Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • All are welcome. Please bring an enquiring and appreciative mind.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Outline the development of the Byzantine church style from Roman models into a distinctive architecture.
  • Highlight the importance of Ravenna in the development of Byzantine style.
  • Trace the expansion and contraction of Byzantine church building with imperial rise and fall.
  • Describe and development of the middle Byzantine style in the Greek monasteries.
  • Examine the legacy of Byzantine style in later church architecture.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Slide-illustrated lecture presentations in a friendly and supportive atmosphere with class discussion and participation encouraged.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • Tutor-led Q&A sessions and class discussion will allow participants to assess their progress.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Recommended reading (continued below) 1) Byzantium 330-1453 ed. Cormack, R. and Vassilaki, M. Royal Academy of Arts 2009. London 2) Byzantium, ed. Buckton, D. V&A, 1994 London.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • 3) Byzantine Art, Mathews, T. Everyman Press, 1980 London. 4) Heaven on Earth, Art and the Church in Byzantium, ed. Safran, L. 1998, Pennsylvania.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Travel site and museum visits.

Download full Course information sheet

Art & Architecture of the Byzantine Church


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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