Previous attempts to compare the art and architecture of Ravenna have focused only on Rome and Constantinople, but Josef Strzygowski argues here that the Oriental Christian tradition should be considered as a contributing influence as well.
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Ravenna, one of the best-preserved cities from the early Byzantine period, offers a unique perspective into the art and architecture of the Byzantine era. In particular, the ruins of the ancient city offer the opportunity to compare artistic styles with those of other ancient cities. Josef Strzygowski notes that several previous art historians have attempted a comparative account of the art and architecture of Ravenna, but he laments that his predecessors have focused only on comparisons with Rome and Constantinople. In the present article, Strzygowski argues that several features of the artistic designs in Ravenna have precedents not in Rome or Constantinople, but in the Oriental Christian tradition. Strzygowski includes several pictures in the article to illustrate his points. Ultimately, Strzygowski does not argue that the Oriental tradition is the sole artistic influence on the art and architecture of Ravenna, but simply that it should not be ignored as a contributing factor.