What is surprising about the David plate (7-1), and what is eclecticism in this period, and how is it typical?
- It may be surprising to
- see a Judeo-Christian subject portrayed in a style that was developed for the
- exploits of Classical heroes, but this mixture of traditions is typical of the
- eclecticism characterizing the visual arts as the Christianized Roman world
- became the Byzantine Empire. Patrons saw no conflict between the artistic
- principles of the pagan past and the Christian teaching undergirding their
- imperial present. To them, this Jewish subject, created for a Christian patron
- in a pagan style, would have attracted notice only because of its sumptuousness
- and its artistic virtuosity.
Name the 3 near eastern religions alive today, and give at least 2 aspects that are shared by them.
- Judaism, Christianity,
- and Islam. All three are monotheistic-believing that the same God of Abraham
- created and rules the universe, and hears the prayers of the faithful. All
- three are “religions of the book”,
- that is, they have written records of God’s will and words: the Hebrew Bible; the Christian Bible, which
- includes the Hebrew Bible as its Old Testament as well as the Christian New
- Testament; and the Muslim Qur’an, believed to be the Word of God as revealed in
- Arabic directly to Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel.
What do finds at the city of Dura Europos show about the cosmopolitan religious character of the Empire?
The variety of religious buildings excavated in present-day Syria at the abandoned Roman outpost of Dura-Europos represents the cosmopolitan religious character of Roman society in the second and third centuries. The settlement-destroyed in 256 CE- included a Jewish house-synagogue, a Christian house-church, shrines to the Persian cults of Mithras and Zoroaster, and temples to Greek and Roman gods, including Zeus and Artemis.
When was Christianity first recognized in the Empire? When does specifically Christian art first appear?
The Roman Empire formally recognized the religion in 313. The earliest Christian art dates to the early third century.
What styles and imagery does it first draw from (2)?
- Jewish and Roman visual traditions.
What is syncretism, and how is it used here? What is an orant, and how does it relate to syncretism?
In this process, known as syncretism, artists assimilate images from other traditions and give them new meanings. The borrowing can be unconscious or quite deliberate. For example, orant figures-worshipers with arms out stretched in prayer-can be pagan, Jewish, or Christian, depending on the context in which they occur. Perhaps the best-known syncretic image is the Good Sheppard. In pagan art, he was Apollo, or Hermes the shepherd, or Orpheus among the animals, or a personification of philanthropy. For Early Christians, he became the Good Shepherd of the Psalms (Psalm 23) and the Gospels (Matthew 18:12-14, John 10:11-16). Such images, therefore, do not have a stable meaning, but are associated with the meanings that a particular viewer brings to them, they remind rather than instruct.
What is the central mystery of Christianity, and what ritual was used in expressing it?
Communal Christian worship focused on the central “mystery”, or miracle, of the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ and the promise of salvation. At its core was the ritual consumption of bread and wine, identified as the Body and Blood of Christ, which Jesus had inaugurated at the Last Supper, a Passover seder meal with his disciples just before his crucifixion.
Define and explain syncretism, with an example, and explain how this works with the Good Shepherd.
- In this process, known as
- syncretism, artists assimilate images from other traditions and give them new
- meanings. The borrowing can be unconscious or quite deliberate. For example,
- orant figures-worshipers with arms out stretched in prayer-can be pagan,
- Jewish, or Christian, depending on the context in which they occur. Perhaps the
- best-known syncretic image is the Good Sheppard. In pagan art, he was Apollo,
- or Hermes the shepherd, or Orpheus among the animals, or a personification of
- philanthropy. For Early Christians, he became the Good Shepherd of the Psalms
- (Psalm 23) and the Gospels (Matthew 18:12-14, John 10:11-16). Such images,
- therefore, do not have a stable meaning, but are associated with the meanings
- that a particular viewer brings to them, they remind rather than instruct.
What is a catacomb? What were the earliest paintings like in catacombs?
Christians, like Jews, used catacombs for burials and funeral ceremonies, not as places of worship.
Define loculi and cubicula, and explain how they were made and prepared.
In the Christian Catacomb of Commodilla, dating from the fourth century, long rectangular niches in the walls, called loculi, each held two or three bodies. Affluent families created small rooms, or cubicula, off the main passages to house sarcophagi. The cubicula were hewn out of tufa, soft volcanic rock, then plastered and painted with imagery related related to their owners’ religious beliefs.
What earlier paintings do the best catacomb paintings resemble?
The finest Early Christian catacomb paintings resemble murals in houses such as those preserved at Rome and Pompeii.
*Describe all the parts in the ceiling painting in the Cubiculum of Leonis, in the Catacomb of Commodilla,
(text box 224)using proper names and terms. What is meant by narrative and iconic images here? Explain.
- In the star-studded
- heavens painted on the vault of this chamber floats the face of Christ, flanked
- by the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and omega. Here
- Christ takes on the guise not of the youthful teacher or miracle worker seen so
- often in Early Christian art, but of a Greek philosopher, with long beard and
- hair. The halo of light around his head indicated his importance and his
- divinity, a symbol appropriated from the conventions of Roman imperial art,
- where haloes often appear around the heads of emperors. By including Peter and
- Roman martyrs in the chamber’s decoration, the early Christians, who dug this
- catacomb as a place to bury their dead, emphasized the importance of their city
- in Christian history.
- These two catacomb
- paintings represent two major directions of Christian art- the narrative and
- the iconic. The narrative image recounts an event drawn from St. Peter’s life-striking
- the rock for water-which in turn evokes the establishment of the Church as well
- as the essential Christian rite of baptism. The iconic image-Christ’s face
- flanked by alpha and omega-offers a tangible expression of an intangible
- concept. The letters signify the beginning and end of time, and, combined with
- the image of Christ, symbolically represent not a story, but an idea-the
- everlasting dominion of the heavenly Christ.
- Throughout the history of
- Christian art these 2 tendencies will be apparent-the narrative urge to tell a
- good story, whose moral or theological implications often have instructional or
- theological value, and the desire to create iconic images that symbolize the
- core concepts and values of the developing religious tradition. In both cases,
- the works of art take on meaning only in relation to viewers’ stored knowledge
- of Christian stories and beliefs.
*Describe all the parts in the ceiling painting in the Catacomb of Sts. Peter & Marcellinus,
(7-5) using proper names and terms (medallion, lunettes). What is the symbolism
behind each part?
- On the 4th century Roman catacomb contained remains or relics, of SS. Peter and Marcellinus, 2 3rd century Christians martyred for their faith. Here, the ceiling of a cubiculum is partitioned by a central medallion, or round compartment, and 4 lunettes, semicircular framed by arches. At the center is a Good Shepherd, whose pose has roots in Classical sculpture. In its new context, the image was a reminder of Jesus’ promise “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
- The semicircular compartments surrounding the Good Shepherd tell the story of Jonah and the sea monster from the Hebrew Bible (Jonah 1-2), in which the sea monster from the Hebrew Bible (Jonah to be thrown overboard, swallowed by the monster, and released, repentant and unscathed, 3 days later. Christians reinterpreted this story as a parable of Christ’s death and resurrection-and hence of the everlasting life awaiting true believers-and it was a popular subject in Christian catacombs. On the left Jonah is thrown from the boat; on the right, the monster spits him up; and at the center, Jonah reclines in the shade of a vine, a symbol of paradise. Orant figures stand between the lunettes, presumably images of the faithful Christians who were buried here.
Broadly define Byzantine art, including its capital city and founder. What is that city called today?
- Constantinople (whose
- ancient name, before Constantine renamed it after himself, was Byzantium) and
- the regions under its influence. Present day Istanbul.
What time frame marks the Early Byzantine period, and who were its most famous emperor and his wife?
Most closely associated with the reign of Emperor Justinian I (527-565 CE) and his wife, Theodora, began in the fifth century and ended in 726, at the onset of the iconoclast controversy that led to the destruction of religious images.
What was the first secret of Byzantine success? Explain. For how long
did it give security to its people?
Constantine had chose the site of his new capital city well. Constantinople lay at the crossroads of the overland trade route connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. It was during the 6th century under Emperor Justinian I and his wife, Theodora, that Byzantince political power, wealth, and culture were at their peak. Imperial forces held northern Africa, Sicily, much of Italy, and part of Spain. Ravenna became the Eastern Empire’s administrative capital in the west, and Rome remained under nominal Byzantine control until the 8th century.
What in general are Justinian and Theodora most famous for at Constantinople?
In Constantinople, Justinian and Theodora embarked on a spectacular campaign of building and renovation but little now remains of their architectural projects or of the old imperial capital itself.
What happened in Constantinople in 532 AD, and what happened to the first great church as a result?
Crowds spurred on by Justinian’s foes during the devastating urban Nika Revolt in 532 , set the old church on fire and cornered the emperor within his palace.
What part did Theodora have in the event of 532, and what was the
- Empress Theodora, a
- brilliant, politically shrewd woman, is said to have goaded Justinian, who was
- plotting an escape, not to flee the city, saying “Purple makes a fine
- shroud”-meaning that she would rather remain and die an empress (purple was the
- royal color) than retreat and preserve her life. Taking up her words as a
- battle cry, Justinian led the imperial forces in crushing the rebels and
- restoring order, reputedly slaughtering 30,000 of his subjects in the process.
What was the greatest church of Byzantium named, that replaced the old one? What does the name mean?
- The Church of Hagia
- Sophia, meaning “Holy Wisdom”.
What 2 designers built the church?
Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus
What are the dates for the building of the great church at Constantinople?
What was Procopius’ famous description of the great dome of the greatest Byzantine church?
Claimed poetically that Hagia Sophia’s gigantic dome seemed to hang suspended on a “golden chain from heaven.”
What was Justinian’s famous declaration on entering the greatest Byzantine church?
Legend has it that Justinian himself, aware that architecture can be a potent symbol of earthly power, compared his accomplishment with that of the legendary builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem, saying “Solomon, I have outdone you.”
What are the 2 basic aspects of the plan of Hagia Sophia?
Hagia Sophia is an innovative hybrid of longitudinal and central architectural planning
What are the main weight bearing supports of Hagia Sophia, and how is their mass hidden?
- The building is clearly dominated by the hovering form of its gigantic dome. But flanking conches-semi domes-extend the central space into a longitudinal nave that expands outward from the central dome to connect with the narthex on one end and the half dome of the sanctuary apse on the other. This processional core, called the naos in Byzantice architecture, is flanked by side aisles and galleries above them overlooking the naos.
- Since its idiosyncratic mixture of basilica and rotunda precludes a ring of masonry underneath the dome to provide support around its circumference (as in the Parthenon), the main dome of Hagia Sophia rests instead on 4 pendentives (triangular curving vault sections) that connect the base of the dome with the huge supporting piers at the 4 corners of the square beneath the area beneath it. And since these piers are essentially submerged back into the darkness of the aisles, rather than expressed within the main space itself, the dome seems to float mysteriously over a void. The miraculous, weightless effect was reinforced by the light-reflecting gold mosaic that covered the surfaces of dome and pendentives alike, as well as the band of 40 windows that perforate the base of the dome right where it meets its support.
What are pendentives? What basic problem do they solve (text box)?
Pendentives are concave spherical triangles between arches that rise upward and inward to form a circular opening on which a dome rests. Method of supporting a round dome.
What was the result of the 40 windows under the dome at Hagia Sophia?
The band of 40 windows perforate the base of the dome right where it meets its support. This daring move challenges architectural logic by seeming to weaken the integrity of the masonry at the very place where it needs to be strong, but the windows created the circle of light that helps the dome appear to hover, and a reinforcement of buttressing on the exterior made the solution sound as well as shimmering.
How does that relate to the emphasis sought in the whole building?
- The origin of the dome on
- pendentives is obscure, but its large-scale use of Hagia Sophia was totally
- unprecedented and represents one of the boldest experiments in the history of
How did worshipers move in Hagia Sophia? What main ritual did 100’s of priest enact here?
- Processions of clergy
- moved in a circular path from the sanctuary into the nave and back five or six
- times during the ritual. The celebration of the Mass took place behind a
- screen-at Hagia Sophia a crimson curtain embroidered in gold, in later churches
- an iconostasis, a wall hung with devotional paintings called icons (from the
- Greek eikon, meaning “image”).
How did the design of Hagia Sophia ‘reconcile an inherent conflict in church architecture’?
“As in a basilica-plan church, worshipers entered Hagia Sophia through a forecourt and outer and inner narthexes on a central axis. Once through the portals, though, their gaze was drawn upward into the dome and then forward by the succession of domed spaces to the distant sanctuary. With this inspired design Anthemius and Isidorus had reconciled an inherent conflict in church architecture between the desire for a symbolically soaring space and the need to focus attention on the altar and the liturgy. The domed design came to be favored by the Eastern Church” (310).
What is an iconostasis, what was placed on it, and what happened behind it?
The celebration of the Mass took place behind a screen-at Hagia Sophia a crimson curtain embroidered in gold, in later churches an iconostasis, a wall hung with devotional paintings called icons (from the Greek eikon, meaning “image”).
Where did the emperor stay, and where did men, and women stay during services at Hagia Sophia?
The emperor was the only layperson permitted to enter the sanctuary; men stood in the aisles and women in the galleries.
How did the focus of the congregation’s view relate to Byzantine philosophy?
The focus of the congregation was on the iconostasis and the dome rather than the altar and apse. This upward focus reflects the interests of Byzantine philosophers, who viewed meditation as a way to rise from the material world to a spiritual state.
In the relief of Christ and disciples on the Road to Emmaus, what 3
attributes identify Jesus in what role?
- Distinctive attributes of a medieval pilgrim- a hat, a
- satchel, and a walking stick.
What In the relief of Christ and disciples on the Road to Emmaus detail reveals what specific message?
The scallop shell on his satchel is the badge worn by pilgrims to a specific site: the shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostela.
How would the scene In the relief of Christ and disciples on the Road to Emmaus relate to the activity of many of the viewers who saw it?
Early pilgrims reaching this destination in the far northwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula continued to the coast to pick up a shell as evidence of their journey. Soon shells were gathered (or fabricated from metal as brooches) and sold to the pilgrims. On the return journey home, the shell became the pilgrims’ passport, a badge attesting to their piety and accomplishment. Public displays of Christian doctrine and moral teaching like these would have been part of the cultural landscape surveyed by pilgrims journeying along the road to Santiago.
of Romanesque sculpture style are shown In the relief of Christ and disciples
on the Road to Emmaus?
Fluid and curvy with lots of surface area. Less naturalistic
When was the Romanesque period?
Mid-11th century to the second half of the 12th century.
What are its chief features of the Romanesque period, as on 454-5? =Europe, Political & cultural, feudalism, the Church, Pilgrimage, Crusades, Intellectual life?
- At the beginning of the 11th century, Europe was still divided into many small political and economic units ruled by powerful families, such as the Ottonians in Germany. By the end of the 12th century however a few exceptionally intelligent and aggressive rulers had begun to create national states. The Capetians in France and the Plantagenets in England were especially successful. In Germany and northern Italy, the power of local rulers and towns prevailed, and Germany and Italy remained politically fragmented until the 19th century.
- In France in particular, social, economic, and political relations were governed by a system commonly referred to as “feudalism.” Arrangements varied considerably from place to place, but typically a landowning lord granted property and protection to a subordinate, called a vassal. In return, the vassal pledged allegiance and military service to the lord. Peasants worked the land in exchange for a place to live, military protection, and other services from the lord. Allegiances and obligations among lords, vassals, and peasants were largely inherited but constantly shifting.
- Secular and religious authority became tightly intertwined, and this continued through the Romanesque period. Monasteries continued to sit at the center of European culture, but there were two new cultural forces fostered by the Church: pilgrimages and crusades.
- Pilgrimages to the holy places of Christendom- Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela-increased, despite the great physical hardships they entailed. As difficult and dangerous as these journeys were, rewards awaited courageous travelers along the routes. Pilgrims could venerate the relics of local saints during the journey, and artists and architects were commissioned to create spectacular and enticing new buildings and works of art to capture their attention.
What are the
chief features of Romanesque art? –see p
It was named after Early medieval architecture, which often displayed the solid masonry walls and rounded arches and vaults characteristic of imperial Roman building. Soon the term was applied to all the arts of the period from roughly the mid-11th century to the second half of the 12th century, even though that art derives from a variety of sources and reflects a multitude of influences, not just Roman. This period of great building activity in Europe, and new castles, manor houses, churches, and monasteries arose everywhere. Also the period provided the physical context for a revival of the art of monumental stone sculpture, an art that had been dormant in European art for 500 years. Pilgrims could venerate the relics of local saints during the journey, and artists and architects were commissioned to create spectacular and enticing new buildings and works of art to capture their attention.
What were 3 main destinations of pilgrimage, and what would a courageous pilgrim gain (454,458)?
Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela. Piligrims could venerate the relics of local saints during the journey, and artist and architects were commissioned to create spectacular and enticing new buildings and works of art to capture their attention.
Name several major shrines and list what a pilgrim came to see at each 3 main destinations of pilgrimage in Jerusalem, rome, and Santiago de Compostela(458).
Chartres housed the tunic that the Virgin was said to have worn when she gave birth to Jesus. The monks of Vexelay had the bones of St. Mary Magdalen, and at Conques, the skull of Sainte Foy was to be found. Churches associated with miraculous cures- Autun, for example, which claimed to house the relics of Lazarus, raised by Jesus from the dead- were filled with the sick and injured praying to be healed.
How long were pilgrims often away on pilgrimage? In what country did the main routes to Santiago begin?
Their journey’s could last up to a year or more; church officials going to Composela were given 16 weeks’ leave of absence. Four main pilgimage routes crossed France, merging into a single road in Spain at Puente la Reina on from there through Burgos and Leon to Compostela.
What were the Crusades? When did the Pope first call for a Crusade? What was the goal of the Crusades?
In the 11th and 12th centuries, Christian Europe, previously on the defensive against the expanding forces of Islam, became the aggressor. In Spain, Christian armies of the north were increasingly successful against the Islamic south. At the same time, the Byzantine emperor asked the pope for help in his war with the Muslims surrounding his domain. The Western Church responded in 1095 by launching a series of holy wars, military offensives against Islamic powers known collectively as the crusades (from the Latin crux-, referring to the cross crusaders wore).
What did the Crusaders achieve briefly in 1099? How long did that last?
Captured Jerusalem in 1099 till 1187.
Who was Saladin, and what did he achieve in 1187?
- Saladin was a Muslim leader who united the Muslim
- forces and captured Jerusalem in 1187, inspiring the Third Crusade, led by
- German, French, and English kings.
What were 2 cultural consequences of the Crusades for Europeans?
Provided Europeans with direct encounters with the more sophisticated material culture of the Islamic world and the Byzantine Empire. This in turn helped stimulate trade, and with trade came the development of an increasingly urban society during the 11th and 12th centuries.
What does Romanesque mean, and what are 2 aspects of its architecture that gave it the name?
Means “in the Roman manner”, was coined in the early 19th century to describe early medieval European church architecture, which often displayed the solid masonry walls and rounded arches and vaults characteristic of imperial Roman buildings.
What shrine in what European location was the chief goal of pilgrims? -Learn to spell it.
Cathedral of St. James in Santiago De Compostela
What did they come to see?
The body of St. James, the apostle to the Iberian peninsula was found in Cathedral of St. James in Santiago De Compostela.
Who did Christians turn to at this time to intercede with Christ and God? (p 462, box)
Turned to the heroes of the Church, the martyrs who had died for their faith, to answer their prayers and the intercede with Christ on their behalf.
What objects did Byzantines most venerate to connect with the early martyrs?
In the Byzantine Church, the faithful venerated icons, that is, pictures of the saints.
What did western Christians most often venerate?
Western Christians wanted to be close to the saints’ actual earthy remains.
What are reliquaries, and what forms could they take?
Bodies of saints, parts of bodies, and things associated with the holy Family or the saints were kept in richly decorated containers called reliquaries. Reliquaries could be simple boxes, but they might also be given the shape of the relic.
What was ‘holy robbery,’ and why did it happen?
Owning and displaying these relics so enhanced the prestige and wealth of a community that people went to great lengths to acquire them, not only by purchase but also by theft. Such a theft was called “holy robbery,” for the new owners insisted that it had been sanctioned by the saint who had communicated to them her desire to move.
What happened specifically to the relic of St. Foye? Explain.
- In the 9th century, for example, the monks
- of Conques stole the relics of the child martyr Sainte Foy (St. Faith) from her
- shrine at Agen. Such a theft was called “holy robbery,” for the new owners
- insisted that it had been sanctioned by the saint who had communicated to them
- her desire to move. In the late 9th or 10th century, the
- monks of Conques encased their new relic- the skull of Sainte Foy- in a gold
- and jewel statue whose unusually large head was made form a reused late Roman
- work. During the 11th century, they added the crown and more jeweled
- banding, and, over subsequent centuries, jewels, cameos, and other gifts added
- by pilgrims continued to enhance the splendor of the statue.
Why were such figure relics the object of controversy? Explain.
- Early in the 11th century, the learned
- Bernard of Angers prefaces his tendentious account of miracles associated with
- the cult of Sainte Foy by confessing his initial misgivings about such
- reliquaries, specifically the way simple folks adored them. Bernard thought it
- smacked of idolatry: “To learned people this may seem to be full of
- superstition, if not unlawful, for it seems as if the rites of the gods of
- ancient cultures, or that the rites of demons are being observed” (Book of
- Sainte Foy, p.77). But when he witnessed firsthand the interaction of the
- reliquary statue with the faithful, he altered his position: “ For the holy
- image is consulted not as an idol that requires sacrifices, but because it
- commemorates a martyr. Since reverence to her honors God on high, it was
- despicable of me to compare her statue to statues of Venus or Diana. Afterwards
- I was very sorry that I had acted so foolishly towards God’s saint.” (ibid., p.
What kinds of decoration subjects appear in Romanesque churches?
The “mute” facades used in early medieval buildings were transformed by Romanesque sculptors into “speaking” facades with richly carved portals projecting bold symbolic and didactic programs to the outside world. The innovative portals are among the greatest artistic achievements of Romanesque art, taking the central messages of the Christian Church out of the sanctuary and into the public spaces of medieval towns. And figural sculpture appeared not only at entrances, but on the capitals of interior as well as exterior piers and columns, and occasionally spread all over the building in friezes, on corbels, even peeking around cornices or form behind moldings.
What 2 locations on churches are new for architectural sculpture now?
Facades including the tympanum and the exteriors of piers and columns.
What is a tympanum, and why is it important for
The most important imagery on a Romanesque portal appears on the semicircular tympanum directly over the door-often a hieratically scaled image of abstract grandeur such as Christ in Majesty or Christ presiding over the Last Judgment-as well as the lintel beneath it. The innovative portals are among the greatest artistic achievements of Romanesque art, taking the central messages of the Christian Church out of the sanctuary and into the public spaces of medieval towns.
What is the subject of the tympanum at the church of St. Lazare, Autun, France (478)?
- This is the Last Judgment, in which Christ-enclosed in
- a mandorla held by 2 svelte angels-has returned at the end of time to judge the
- cowering, naked humans whose bodies rise from their sarcophagi along the lintel
- at his feet. The damned writhe in torment at Christ’s left (our right), while
- on the opposite side the saved savor serene bliss. The inscribed message on the
- side of the damned reads: “Here let fear strike those whom earthly error binds,
- for their fate is shown by the horror of these figures,” and under the blessed:
- “Thus shall rise again everyone who does not lead an impious life, and endless
- light of day shall shine for him” (Translations form Grivot and Zarnecki).
On the tympanum at the church of St. Lazare, Autun, France (478) How is the relief laid out- What is on the center, left and right? How is the image organized otherwise?
- A huge, hieratic figure of Christ dominates the
- composition at the center of the tympanum, but the surrounding figures are not
- arranged here in regular compartmentalized tiers. The damned writhe in torment
- at Christ’s left (our right), while on the opposite side the saved savor serene
- bliss. The inscribed message on the side of the damned reads: “Here let fear
- strike those whom earthly error binds, for their fate is shown by the horror of
- these figures,” and under the blessed: “Thus shall rise again everyone who does
- not lead an impious life, and endless light of day shall shine for him”
- (Translations form Grivot and Zarnecki).
On the tympanum at the church of St. Lazare, Autun, France (478) *How is the composition similar to the Palette of Narmer?
They are both narrative scenes.
On the tympanum at the church of St. Lazare, Autun, France (478) *How are the style of this image and its period style different than that of classical art of Greece and Rome?
Less naturalistic, fluid and curvy, Greece and Rome concentrated on realism.
On the tympanum at the church of St. Lazare, Autun, France (478) What can
be seen with 3 figures along the bottom register?
- The cross (a badge of Jerusalem) and scallop shell (a badge of Santiago de Compostela) identify these two figures as former pilgrims. The clear message is that participation in pilgrimage will be a factor in their favor at the last Judgment.
- The incised ornament on these sarcophagi is quite similar to that on ancient Roman sarcophagi, on e of many indications that the Autun sculptors and masons knew the ancient art created when Autun was a Roman city
What is depicted around St. Michael on the right of the scene? How does that relate to Egyptian afterlife ideas?
Ominously, a pair of giant, pincer-like hands descends aggressively to snatch one of the damned on the right side of the lintel. Above these hands, the archangel Michael competes with devils over the fate of someone whose judgment is being weighed on the scales of good and evil. The man himself perches on the top of the scale; hands cupped to his mouth to project his pleas for help toward the savior. Another man hides nervously in the folds of Michael’s robe, perhaps hoping to escape judgment or cowering from the loathsome prospect of possible damnation.
What are historiated capitals,
and what contribution to art do they make?
- The creations of lively narrative scenes within the
- geometric confines of capitals are an important Romanesque innovation in
- architectural sculpture.
What subjects did Gislebertus depict on these at Autun?
Two capitals depict scenes from the childhood of Jesus drawn from Matthew 2:1-18. In one capital, the Magi- who have previously adored and offered gifts to the child Jesus- are interrupted in their sleep by an angel who warns them not to inform King Herod of the location of the new born king of the Jews. In ingenious compositional device, the sculptor has shown the reclining Magi and the head of their bed as if viewed from above, whereas the angel and the foot of the bed are viewed from the side. This allows us to see clearly the angel- who is appearing to them in a dream- as he touches the hand of the upper Magus, whose eyes have suddenly popped open. As on the façade, the sculptor has conceived this scene in ways that emphasize the human qualities of its story, not its deep theological significance. With its charming, doll-like figures, the other capital shows an event that occurred just after the Magi’s dream: Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are journeying toward Egypt to escape King Herod’s order to murder all young boys so as to eliminate the newborn royal rival the Magi had journeyed to venerate.
How does early Medieval sculpture like this, and the tympanum, look different than Greek or Roman sculpture?
As on the façade, the sculptor has conceived this scene in ways that emphasize the human qualities of its story, not its deep theological significance with its charming, doll-like figures.
When was the Gothic period? See the end of ch. 16. What are the chief features of this period?
Gothic art evolved from Romanesque art and lasted from the mid-12th century to as late as the end of the 16th century in some areas. Architecture was the most important and original art form during the Gothic period.
What are the main aspects of Gothic art style, incl in architecture?
Gothic churches with stained glass and encrusted with sculpture, also larger windows and even loftier vaults supported by more and more streamlined skeletal exterior buttressing.
How did Gothic originally get that name?
The term “Gothic” was popularized by the 16th century Italian artist and historian Giorgio Vasari, who disparagingly attributed the by then old fashioned style to the Goths, Germanic invaders who had “destroyed” the Clssical civilization of the Roman Empire that Vasari preferred.
Who was Abbot Suger, where and when did he live, and what will he be most remembered for in his ideas on
Abbot Suger was the mastermind in the reconstruction of the abbey church at Saint-Denis, while he was its abbot (1122-1151). The church of Benedictine abbey of Saint-Denis, just north of Paris, was the first Gothic building. This monastery had been founded in the fifth century over the tomb of St. Denis, the Early Christian martyr who had been sent from Rome to convert the local pagan population and was considered the first bishop of Paris. The abbey church of Saint-Denis became the prototype for a new architecture of space and light based on a highly adaptable skeletal framework that supported rib vaulting on the points of slender piers-rather than massive Romanesque walls-reinforced by external buttress systems. It initiated a period of competitive experimentation in France that resulted in ever-larger churches-principally cathedrals-enclosing increasingly taller interior spaces, walled with ever-greater expanses of stained glass.
What particular art form in churches led from his ideas?
- Stain-glass windows. The most dramatic achievement of
- Suger’s builders was the coordinated use of these features to create an
- architectural whole that emphasized open, flowing space, enclosed by
- non-load-bearing walls of colorful, glowing stained glass. As Suger himself put
- it, the church becomes “a circular string of chapels by virtue of which the
- whole would shine with the wonderful and uninterrupted light of most luminous
- windows, pervading the interior beauty” (Panofsky, p.101). And since Suger saw
- the contemplation of light as means of illuminating the soul and uniting it
- with God, he was providing his monks with an environment especially conducive
- to their primary vocation of prayer and meditation.
What was new in his great church of St. Denis in Paris? Use & know the church terms, and identify them on images and plan.
He invited an international team of masons, sculptors, metalworkers, and glass painters, making this building site a major center of artistic exchange. Sugar began building c. 1135, with a new west façade and narthex attached to the old church, but it was in the new choir-completed in three years and three months between July 13, 1140, and June 14, 1144-where the fully formed Gothic architectural style first appeared. In his account of the reconstruction, Sugar argues that the older building was inadequate to accommodate the crowd of pilgrims who arrived on feast days to venerate the body of St. Denis, and too modest to express the importance of the saint himself. In working with builders to conceive a radically new church design, he turned for inspiration to texts that were attributed erroneously to a follower of St. Paul named Dionysius (the Greek form of Denis), who considered radiant light a physical manifestation of Got. Through the centuries, this Pseudo-Dionysius also became identified with the martyred Denis whose body was venerated at the abbey, so Suger was adapting what he believed was the patron saint’s concept of divine luminosity in designing the new abbey church with walls composed essentially of stained-glass windows. In inscriptions he composed for the bronze doors (now lost), he was specific about the motivations for the church’s new architectural style: “being nobly bright, the work should lighten the minds, so that they may travel, through the true lights, to the True Light where Christ is the true door” (Panofsky, p.49).
What’s important about the Church
of Notre Dame of Paris?
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame (“Our Lady,” the Virgin Mary) in Paris, bridges the period between Abbot Suger’s rebuilding of his abbey church and the High Gothic cathedrals of the 13th century. Builders here employed the first true flying buttresses, probably during the 1180’s.
What are flying buttresses, what is their purpose; what is rib vaulting, and how tall is the nave here? Refer to box, elements of Gothic churches, and figs.
The flying buttress, a gracefully arched, skeletal exterior support, counters the lateral thrust of the nave vault and transfers its weight outward, over the side aisles, where it is resolved into and supported by a vertical external buttress, rising from the ground. Rib vaults are a form of groin vault, in which the diagonal ridges (groins) rest on and are covered by curved moldings called ribs. After the walls and piers of the building reached the desired height, timber scaffolding to support these masonry ribs was constructed. When the mortar of the ribs was set, the web of the vault was then laid on forms built on the ribs themselves. After all the temporary forms were removed, the ribs may have provided strength at the intersections of the webbing to channel the vaults’ thrust outward and downward to the foundations; they certainly add decorative interest. In short, ribs formed “the skeleton” of the vault; the webbing, a lighter masonry “skin.” In Late Gothic buildings, additional, decorative ribs give vaults a lacelike appearance.
What were its building dates, and when was the spire finally finished?
The building was begun in the 1160’s with the choir, and it was essentially complete by the middle of the 13th century with the achievement of the façade. To increase the window size and secure the soaring 115-foot-high vault, builders here employed the first true flying buttresses, probably during the 1180’s. During the 13th century, builders modernized Notre-Dame by reworking the 2 upper levels into the large clerestory windows we see today. The spire, reaches 90m (295 ft), and was added in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc.