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Eustratios Of Nicaea On The Separation Of Art And Theology

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Chapter Summary

Eustratios, Metropolitan of Nicaea was one of the more sophisticated and engaged writers on the nature of art and painting in Byzantium. Yet, his work remains little used by art historians and theologians and he remains one of our more underappreciated thinkers on Byzantine art. Modern editions, translations, and a richer secondary literature will no doubt help change this situation. Until these become available, this chapter, like the other rare accounts of Eustratios's writing on art, must be considered preliminary. Given this condition, the chapter shows how Eustratios developed a consistent account of the image, one that led him to reject the post-iconoclastic elevation of the icon to the status of theology or philosophy. In order to do this, it focuses on three of Eustratios's writings. His discussion of art in his Commentary on Nicomachean Ethics and his two closely linked essays on icons: the Dialogue and the Syllogistic Demonstration.

Keywords: Byzantine art; Eustratios's writing; Nicomachean Ethics



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