Belated apologies, farmerman, for not responding to your post. I just saw your post this evening. Let me say, as a former teacher of history and for the sake of those who would benefit from a definition of Byzantine art that: (i) Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453; and (ii) the term can also be used for the art of Eastern Orthodox states which were contemporary with the Byzantine Empire and were culturally influenced by it, without actually being part of the Byzantine commonwealth, such as Bulgaria, Serbia, or Russia and also for the art of the Republic of Venice and Kingdom of Sicily, which had close ties to the Byzantine Empire despite being in other respects part of western European culture. Art produced by Eastern Orthodox Christians living in the Ottoman Empire is often called "post-Byzantine." Certain artistic traditions that originated in the Byzantine Empire, particularly in regard to icon painting and church architecture, are maintained in Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Russia and other Eastern Orthodox countries to the present day.(Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. I have always found this building impressive and, not being in any way very knowledgeable about Byzantine art and architecture, it has stood out in my mind's eye.
The Church was dedicated, I am informed, to the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Although it is sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, "Church of the Holy Wisdom of God". Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture." In these years of my retirement I look forward to learning more about Byzantine art and architecture.
It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician.
In summary, then, I will leave my focus on this building as the greatest influence on my aesthetic sensibility.-Ron