The relationship between nature and architecture was particularly emphasized by the Arts & Crafts members as an expression of man’s inner-relationship with his natural surroundings. Historical architecture, in particular, had a central role in this interaction between man and the physical world. Medieval architecture, primarily the Gothic cathedral, was admired for its natural forms and the close almost mystical connections that it managed to establish with nature.
Pioneer architects of the British Arts & Crafts movement, such as Robert Weir Schultz and Sidney Barnsley of the British School at Athens BRF Archive, following the example of John Ruskin, William Morris and their Arts & Crafts masters, were among the first to record, document and study surviving Byzantine monuments in the Eastern Mediterranean. Their attitude towards the remains of Byzantine heritage in the region, eloquently reflected in their recordings and, later, publications, demonstrates a pronounced concern, at the footsteps of their masters, for the multiple interconnections between a historic building and its natural surroundings. Byzantine architecture was considered an essential part of the landscape and, vice versa, nature, the physical world, its forms and qualities were reflected in the historic building both in the way it developed as well as in impressive or even minute details in its architecture and decoration.
This exhibition was created for Nature and the Environment: the 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, which was planned by the late Dr Ruth Macrides, and it is dedicated to her memory.