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Justinian was a superb organizer, and one of the most remarkable patrons in the history of art.He built and re-built on a huge scale throughout the Empire: his greatest work, the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, employed nearly 10,000 craftsmen and labourers and was decorated with the richest materials the Empire could provide. Vitale in Ravenna, the worshipper is dazzled by a highly controlled explosion of colour blazoned across glittering gold.The style that characterized Byzantine art was almost entirely concerned with religious expression; specifically with the translation of church theology into artistic terms.
To the East, Justinian's most important surviving work is in the church, (slightly later than S.[See: Icons and Icon Painting.] The greatest collection of this type of early Biblical art is in the monastery of St Catherine in Sinai, founded in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian.And see also, the Byzantine-influenced Garima Gospels (390-660) - world's most ancient illuminated gospel manuscript - from Ethiopia.At the same time, Italian city states like Venice were becoming rich on international trade.As a result, in 1204, Constantinople fell under the influence of Venetians.
See also Byzantine-inspired panel-paintings and altarpieces including Duccio's Stroganoff Madonna (1300) and Maesta Altarpiece (1311).