Byzantine religious expression : manifestation of humanistic elements
The main and only function of Byzantine religious art was to express the teachings of Christian Orthodoxy to its worshippers. Unlike any other Christian denomination, its main vehicle of conveying these teachings was pictorial presentations, most prominently in the form of monumental wall decorations of their churches. Beginning in the third century A.D., and relying on the Graeco-Roman models, Byzantine religious art soon assumed a distinct artistic and iconographic character of its own. Seriousness, somberness, and dignity, as one would expect, had always been the major features of this art. However, in spite of this tradition which also required that holy images be placed above earthly matters, Byzantine art never completely lost touch with humanity. The humanistic elements became very distinct in the Middle Period (843-1204) and continued until the final collapse of the Empire in 1453.