Byzantine art has a reputation for being less based in diagrams than Western medieval art. The present essay offers a reassessment of this view through an examination of debates between Greeks and Latins from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. This cultural give-and-take led to a reconceptualization of Trinitarian iconography among Greek theologians. Taking as its case study an overlooked class of theological diagrams, this paper suggests that late Byzantine art may in fact be more “diagrammatic” than has typically been assumed. Exploring the relation between these diagrams and two types of Trinitarian images, the Synthronoi and Paternitas, it shows that schematic drawings were indeed interpreted in line with icons. Tracing the evolution of the “triangular” diagram and “rectilinear” axis through several Greek authors, this essay provides a period vocabulary for discussing formal structures which cut across East and West.
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Willson, Justin. “On the Aesthetic of Diagrams in Byzantine Art.” Speculum, vol. 98, no. 3, July 2023, pp. 763–801, https://doi.org/10.1086/725387.
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