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Much of the art created from the Byzantine Empire was more symbolic than realistic, and this can be seen in Medieval era art as well. For example, the Virgin with Child and Saints and Angels Icon is far less realistic than portraits from earlier civilizations, just like the depiction of Saint Matthew on the cover of the Book of Durrow is almost primitive compared to the highly detailed work of the Greeks and those of the Romans. As dominated by religion as the Byzantine Empire, the Medieval era artwork as not only religious in content, but also used in religious ceremony, for instance the illuminated manuscripts being used in religious procession. I’m not sure if I see the influence coming from Classical art as strongly as that of the Byzantine Empire.