Workshops with style: Minor art in the making

Galit Noga-Banai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In his book Byzantine Art in the Making; Main Lines of Stylistic Development in Mediterranean Art 3 rd-7 th Century, Ernst Kitzinger describes three types of subjects represented in a group of ivory plaques most likely executed in the same Roman workshop c. 400. He begins with the famous pair of ivory panels inscribed with the names Nicomachi (Paris, Musée Cluny) and Symmachi (London, Victoria and Albert Museum), two of the old Roman senatorial families known for their efforts and actions to preserve and protect pagan rites during the final decades of the fourth century in Rome [fig. 1]. Each of the two panels shows a priestess performing a rite before an altar. Kitzinger's main interest was in the classicistic style of the settings and figures, recruited to emphasize the patrons' purposes. He compares the priestess diptych with the official ivory diptych of Rufius Probianus. There in each part Probianus, vicarius of the city of Rome, is seen seated on a throne flanked by two notaries [fig. 2]. Below, two patricians stand in acclamation pose. The devotional pair of ivories and the official one, says Kitzinger, are closely related. The borders of the first diptych, made of "delicately wrought palmette ornament" are identical with the frames of the second one, including the borders dividing the Probianus panels into upper and lower zones.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)531-542
Number of pages12
JournalByzantinische Zeitschrift
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


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