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Architecture of Thought$
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Andrzej Piotrowski

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816673049

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816673049.001.0001

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Architecture and Medieval Modalities of Thought

Architecture and Medieval Modalities of Thought

(p.1) 1 Architecture and Medieval Modalities of Thought
Architecture of Thought

Andrzej Piotrowski

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter addresses the discrepancy between currently dominant ways of knowing art and architecture, and the Byzantine concepts of theology—a unique way of reaching beyond the knowable. It shows that Middle Byzantine architecture is symptomatic of a little-known way of thinking about reality and representation. Katholikon in the monastery of Hosios Loukas becomes a site that tests the limits of visual perception and religious thought. The primary purpose of its representational structure was to keep manifestations of religious concepts at the limit of conscious understanding and to explore the unknowable. Yet, what Byzantines considered the most precious outcome of such practices—how the evocative vagueness of experimental phenomena informed Christian imagination—was identified as vulnerability by the Roman West. Gothic in architecture and Scholasticism in theology were triggered when Westerners absorbed and appropriated that truly unique Byzantine way of thinking.

Keywords:   art, architecture, Middle Byzantine architecture, theology, reality, representation, Christian imagination, Gothic, Scholasticism

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