[The Effects of Good Government, Ambrogio Lorenzetti]
Book of Kells, detail
The Annunciation to the Virgin: Gualenghi-d’Este Hours, Taddeo Crivelli
[The Creation of Adam, The Sistine Chapel Michelangelo]
[The School of Athens, Raphael]
[Bardi Altarpiece, Parmigianino]
[The Abduction of the Sabine Women, Nicolas Poussin]
ART HISTORY PART TWO ANCIENT ROMAN TO BAROQUE
ANCIENT ROMAN 500 BCE-330 CE
While most Greek artists were highly respected members of their society, Roman artists were considered tradesmen. Therefore, we know little about individual artists and more about their subject matter and the overarching culture of Rome. Massive architectural structures were also widespread and spoke to the Roman lust for power and material wealth. Interiors were often lavishly painted or covered with mosaics which while getting their start in Greek culture have come to be strongly associated with Ancient Rome.
Portrait Sculpture, Painting and Mosaics
Bust of Emperor Caracalla
It dates back to: 212-217 CE
Size: 362 mm
Purpose: In the Hellenistic tradition of physiognomy, busts commemorating important Roman leaders could be found both in public and private settings.
Maiden Gathering Flowers
It dates back to: 15 BCE-60 CE
Medium: fresco, a mural painted on an interior wall
Location: found in the villa of Varano in Stabiae
Purpose: decorative and to create the illusion of being outdoors or looking out a window.
Although Greeks were the first to use mosaics we generally associate them with Ancient Rome because Romans took the simpler geometric patterns found in most Greek work and created elaborate patterns, floor coverings, and images that covered the walls.
Capitoline Doves or Doves Drinking from a Bowl
It dates back to: 2 CE most likely a copy of a mosaic by Sosus made in 2 BCE.
Medium: mosaic: thousands of small tesserae (tile, glass, stone) some as small as 3 mm.
Location: found in Hadrian’s Villa
Roman Mosaic with Busts of the Planetary Deities (center: Venus. bottom center: Jupiter. Clockwise from Jupiter: Mercury, Mars, Luna or Selene, Helios or Sol, and Saturn.)
It dates back to: 150 CE
Location: the archaeaological site of Italica in Santiponce
Detail: Helios or Sol
Arches and Architecture
Roman Colosseum (exterior view)
It dates back to: 70-72 CE
Size: 620’ x 513’
Materials: Stone and concrete. The exterior shows three levels each with arched entryways all the way around the structure. Each story used a different column order. The bottom was Doric, the middle Ionic, and the top Corinthian. Awnings, to protect the spectators from the sun, hung from 240 mast corbels placed around the top story. The Colosseum sat over 50,000.
Roman Colosseum (interior view)
It dates back to: 125 CE set on the same spot as two previous Pantheons which were burned down, the first in 80 CE and the second by lightening in 110 CE. Two principle parts—the porch and the rotunda with a perfect hemisphere dome. The oculus in the center of the dome is 8.8 meters in diameter
Materials: Rotunda: brick, concrete, originally faced with white marble stucco
Dome: light tufa and scoria concrete, originally covered with bronze sheets
Porch: grey granite columns with Pentelic marble tops and bases
Size: 1.3 meter base with a 7 meter extension and Numidian yellow marble steps, 33.1 x 13.6 meter porch with 8 Corinthian columns 11.8 meters high. the rotunda is 43.2 meters in diameter and the dome is 43.2 meters at its maximum height.
Purpose: Not known for certain although the emperor Hadrian often convened the Senate there.
THE MIDDLE AGES 500-1400 CE
When Rome fell in 476 CE only the Western part of the Roman Empire became divided by its conquers. The Eastern Roman Empire, remained strong from 330 CE when Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity and moved the capital from Rome to Constantinople until 1453 CE. During this time, Byzantine Art flourished (along with the church) and most of it was dominated by religious expression. The end of the middle ages is also known as the Early Renaissance.
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Dates back to: 537 CE, built under the Emperor Justinian
About: When Mehmet the Conqueror conquered the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453 he declared it a mosque. It was maintained as such until 1935 when Ataurk turned it into a museum.
30 million gold tesserae are used in the various mosaics covering the church’s interior.
Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George
Dates Back to: sixth or early seventh century
Medium: encaustic on wood,
Size: 2′ 3″ x 1′ 7 3/8″
Location: St. Catherine’s6 Monastery, Sinai, Egypt
Mosaics date back 4000 years to early Rome where they often were used as floor covering. They then became more complex and popular in the 5th Century and throughout the Byzantine era. During this period they were used to cover the walls and ceilings of cathedrals, chapels, and Baptistries. Special glass tiles called smelti often backed with silver or gold leaf were used to allow light to reflect and refract from the mosaics. These tiles were set at an angle which further aided the election of light.
Emperor Justinian Mosaic
Dates back to: 546-56 CE
Location: San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
Purpose: to establish the authority of the emperor in the Church and in history.
In general we think of Celtic Art as ornamental patterns, knots, and animal and plant features. The designs often showed axial symmetry and the objects were usually functional—belts, vessels, tableware, etc. By 500 CE Celtic art was found in all the British Isles and to the Black sea on mainland Europe. It also took on some Mediterranean features though the metal work continued to employ symbolic designs.
The Derrynaflan Eucharist Plate
discovered in an ancient monastery near Tipperary northeast of Cashel.
Dates back to: 700-800 CE
Medium: silver, bronze, gold, glass, enamel
A beaten silver bowl which is soldered and stitched to a bronze rim. There are 12 curves gilt-bronze frames attached to each other by bronze rivets. The rivet heads are covered by glass and enamel studs. Some of the gold filigree panels have abstract patters, others have human and animal motifs.
The Cross of Muiredach (east face)
Dates Back To: 10th Century
Size: 5.2 meters high
Location: In the monastery in Monasterboice County Louth
Purpose: This is not a grave marker. The iconography on the cross shows Old Testament scenes on the east side and New Testament scenes on the west.
Detail from The Cross of Muiredach: Adam and Eve with the apple and Cain and Able.
One way the Church communicated to an illiterate people the stories found in scriptures was through illuminated manuscripts. Sometimes the places which were illuminated were important texts. Other times initials were merely decorative.
Book of Kells folio 340 Christ Enthroned (left)
Dates back to: 800 CE
Size: 13” x 10”
Medium: vellum (made from animal skins), paint, ink
Artists: three anonymous monks
Book of Kells folio 19 the beginning of the Breves cause (brief summary) of Luke (right)
A German monk, Theophilus, wrote about stained-glass in his book, On Diverse Arts. Stained-glass was used in cathedrals for utilitarian purposes—to allow light in while keeping the cathedral warmer--and to communicate meaning through beauty.
The Good Samaritan window is one of 167 windows in the Chartres Cathedral (Left)
Dates back to: 1190 CE to 1220 CE
Detail: from the Good Samaritan window. (right)
Bayeux Tapestry (detail)
Artist: Nuns, possibly from Canterbury
Medium: linen, thread (2 ply wool yarn)
Location: fits the knave of the Bayeux Cathedral in England.
Size: 224’ x 20”
Description: 58 separate scenes telling of the Norman conquest of Anglo-Saxon England. The scenes include humans, dogs, horses, ships, trees, buildings, dragons, and griffins.
RENAISSANCE 1400-1565 CE
Artists like Fra Bartolomeo, a Dominican Friar, Sandro Botticelli, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Fillips Brunelleschi, Masaccio, and Titian ushered in the early Renaissance in Italy and Vienna. Dutch painters Hieronymus Bosch and Jan van Eyck, German painters Albrecht Durer and Hans Holbein the Younger, and the Flemish painter Robert Champin were the best known artists of the Northern Renaissance. But, the High Renaissance, probably the best know period in art history, is actually defined by four Italian artists: Donatello who ushered it in, Leonardo da Vincci, Raphael, and Michelangelo whose death defines the end of the era. This era is held to this day as the plumb line for intellect, perfection, and beauty. Through out Europe, but especially in Italy, art during the Renaissance was commissioned by the church and wealthy patrons, like the Medici family, who wanted favor from the church.
Linear perspective creates the illusion of depth in a painting by use of a vanishing point. Objects that appear closer are larger and those that seem further away are smaller. Additionally, the dimensions along a sight line are relatively shorter. We refer to this effect as foreshortening.
The Tribute Money
Size: 97.2” x 235”
Location: Brancacci Chapel, Florence
No. 36 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 20. Lamentation (The Mourning of Christ)
Artist: Giotto di Bondone
Size: 200 cm x 185 cm
Location: Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel) Padua
The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ
Artist: Andrea Mantegna
Medium: tempra on canvas
Location: Pinacoteca di Brera of Milan Italy, having been found in Mantegna’s studio and sold by his son to cover some debts. It is thought Mantegna intended it for his own funerary chapel. Foreshortening:
From the Renaissance on, artists have often been pitted against one another to achieve the most excellent results. Brunelleschi and Ghiberti are two such artists. Both entered the competition to create a set of doors for the Baptistery in Florence. Of the seven original competitors only their panels have survived. It is believed the judges could not decide between the two men so asked them to collaborate. Brunelleschi responded by withdrawing from the competition. He never sculpted again. The doors Ghiberti eventually constructed were so beautiful Michelangelo declared them, “the gates to paradise”. The project took Ghiberti 21 years to complete. He was later asked to make a second set of doors for the north side of the Baptistry which took him 27 years to finish.
The Sacrifice of Isaac competition
panels for the doors of the Florence
Artist: Brunelleschi (left), Ghiberti
David, one of ten panels that make up The Gates of Paradise. Originally designed for the north entrance they are now hung on the east doors of the Florence Baptistry.
Artist: Lorenzo Ghiberti
Time: between 1425-1452
Medium: gilded bronze
Characterized by exaggeration and imbalance. Mannerist painters were not particularly concerned with appearing natural but were quite comfortable with ambiguous space. The concept of attraction/repulsion can easily be associated with the Mannerists.
Entombment of Christ
shows an elongated body and empty center. Both were intentional departures from the High Renaissance.
Artist: Jacopo da Pontormo
Medium: oil on wood
Location: above the alter in the Capponi
Chapel in Florence
Size: 123” x 76”
Madonna with the Long Neck
though disproportionate is still elegant and graceful. The soft curve to the Madonna’s neck allows for the maternal gaze and actually harkens back to a medieval hymn which compares the Virgin’s neck to an ivory column. Note also the literal column.
Medium: oil on wood
Location: Originally intended for the funerary chapel of Francesco Tagliaferri in Parma is now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Size: 85” x 52”
Three Children with a Dog
Artist: Sofonisba Anguissola
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 29” x 37.25”
Sofonisba Anguissola is not the first female artist but their rarity does reflect how difficult it was for female artists to receive proper training as well as be recognized. Even so Sofonisba became a court painter for Philip II of Spain.
Art from the Baroque period is typically full of drama. It uses realism but fills it with rich color and ornate detail. Religious or mythological subject matter are also dominant features.
The Calling of Saint Matthew
Medium: oil on canvas
Location: Contarelli Chapel, Rome
Size: 127” x 130”
Caravaggio receive numerous commissions despite rejecting “the masters”. He is best known for his use of extreme light and dark know as chiaroscuro, adding a dramatic
effect to his work.
Officers and Men of the Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Wilhelm van Ruytenburgh (The Nightwatch)
Medium: oil on canvas
Location: Amsterdam Museum
Size: 142.9” x 172”
Elevation of the Cross
Artist: Peter Paul Rubens
Medium: oil on canvas
Location: Cathedral of Antwerp
Size: triptych the center panel is 15’ 1 7/8” x 11’ 1 7/8” the side panels are 15’ 1 7/8” x 4’ 11”
Ruben’s uses the technique of foreshortening in order to more realistically depict the semi-reclining body of Christ.
Artist: Judith Leyster
Medium: oil on canvas
In her self-portrait, Judith Leyster tells the viewer about herself. Her clothing reveals her social standing, the brush in her right hand informs us she is the artist, and the subject matter of the painting within the painting hints at her wit and sense of fun.
Flower Still Life
Artist: Rachel Ruysch
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 75.6 cm x 60.6 cm
By age 15 she was an apprentice to Willem van Aelst, by 18 she was already established as a still life painter. at 29 she married a portrait painter with whom she had 10 children. Still she managed to produce over 250 paintings in 70 years and was considered a successful artist in her own day.