Byzantine Art is important because of its influence within Christianity art and architecture over nearly a millennium. The Byzantine Empire picks up with the dwindling of the Roman Empire in the early fourth century when Constantine I issues the Edict of Milan to lift the ban on Christianity. Constantine names the capital city Constantinople, a name it retains until the rise of the Ottoman Turks in the 1400s.
The art of Byzantine society canonizes Greek and Roman styles, yet shifts in subject from the natural world to religious imagery. The public emergence of the Christianity creates a demand for images and architecture that promote worship through the communication of religious messages.
One style of Byzantine Art that was especially influential is the icon painting. Icons are paintings on wood that depict people important to the mythology of the Christian religion. Christ, Mary, and the saints were all popular subjects. Icon paintings could be worshipped in public or at home. This ability to worship at home allowed for a more personal relationship between an individual and Christianity.