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Aubri Stogsdill

Iconoclasm was certainly an issue at various points in the Byzantine empire. There is a significant amount of loss of art during this period simply because it was actually illegal in certain areas to make a rendering. This didn’t last too terribly long as the church again began to value the rendering of saints and Christ in order to be able to tell stories. Still, they wanted to be sure that people were not worshiping the actual image, but they were instead directing their worship to the entity behind the image. This is a significant shift to what we saw in the Early Jewish and Christian art. Before there was a significant amount of reverence for the command about graven images, but over time this reverence seems to be lost to some degree. While there is still a marked difference in the way the humans are portrayed, as there is a loss of realism in idealism that was found in Greek art in byzantine art, there is a significant amount of depictions of animals and people found in the churches. I would argue that the church may have taken depictions too far and ‘cut corners’ so to speak, in ways that may have broken this commandment. Yet, in a time when books were far more rare and fewer people would have been able to read, these depictions would likely have been helpful in communicating the stories found in scripture. This is such an interesting issue! It clearly caused a significant divide within the church and raised a lot of questions about what it meant to obey the commands of God!