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Unit V AND V1

Art Appreciation

1.      The statue of Christ seated reflection on both Imperial and Christian iconography

It is a small marble statue that presents a youthful, beardless Christ, who is dressed as a philosopher and carrying a scroll that is unopened (Cayley & Powell, 2013). The iconography can be said to be having a combination of both Christian and Imperial attributes in one figure. The attributes are a youthful Apollo-like God and consequently a wise and elderly philosopher. Here, Christ who is from God is presented as strong and formidable (Cayley & Powell, 2013). This artwork was primarily chosen to show a difference in how Christ is represented then, to what he was described later in the Christian history. Due to the rarity of the sculpture, it could be clearly seen that the making of these form of statues was considered to not be acceptable.

References

Cayley, E., & Powell, S. (2013). Manuscripts & printed books in Europe 1350-1570: Packaging, Presentation & consumption. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.      How did the Barberini Ivory announce Byzantium’s theocratic state?

The Barberini Ivory presents a triumphant Justinian on a rearing horse that depicts a victorious emperor. It is a famous piece known as the Barberini Ivory that is kept in the Louvre (Brenk, 2010). The part is made of five ivory plaques fitted together. The leaf of a diptych is made up of a central plate together with four long and rectangular plaques. The right plate is seen to be missing. The central plaque that depicts the triumph of an emperor was carved in very high relief and is even on the ground in some sections. The emperor can be said to mount on a rearing horse. He wears a crown, also short tunic and boots. His paludamentum or cloak floats behind him.

The source of Justinian’s power is said not to be his military strength or army but is rather from God Himself. In the top panel above him, appears a youthful Christ blessing Justinian with his right hand thus approving his right to rule (Brenk, 2010). The right is thus granted from the “divine.”

The constitution of the Byzantine Empire was based on the conviction that it was the earthly representation of the Kingdom of Heaven. It was the theory, but in practice the state was never free from its Roman past, mainly the Roman law, and its inheritance of Greek culture. The theocratic constitution remained virtually the same during those eleven centuries (Brown, 2011). Constantine’s conception was the sunlight and water that allowed the Church to grow and flourish in the soil of the Roman Empire where she had been planted. It was this solid vision of a theocracy that provided the conceptual basis for the leadership of what would become the Byzantine Empire.

 

References

Brenk, B. (2010). The apse, the image, & the icon: A view historical & perspective of the apse as space for images. Wiesbaden: Reichert.

Brown, P. R. L. (2011). The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise, Growth & function in Latin Christianity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.      The contributions of Justinian in the Early Byzantine period

During the early Byzantine period, Justinian devoted much of his reign to reconquering Italy, Spain, and North Africa. He was also involved in laying foundations of the imperial absolutism of the Byzantine state, imposing his religious views on his subjects by law and codifying them (Bardill, 2011). If one could say that the most outstanding contribution to Rome city to the development of civilization was the rule of law, then Justinian’s codifying of the laws alone would justify his notable place in world history. He was actively involved in the reconstructing the flagging fortresses of the Roman Empire. His support was the provision of cisterns, residences, ramparts, civic buildings waterways, and churches (Bardill, 2011). It is an achievement that dwarfs any other architectural accomplishment by a single individual in any other empire.

Justinian renovated, founded and rebuilt countless churches within Constantinople, including Hagia Sophia. It had been destroyed during the Nika riots. Also the Church of the Holy Apostles, the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus were rebuilt through his efforts. Justinian also built some many other churches and fortifications outside of the imperial capital. These included the Basilica of St. John in Ephesus and Monastery of St. Catherine on the Sinai Peninsula. The significant manifestation of the church as a clear focal point of the entire community was solidified by Justinian in his town and city reconstructions (Bardill, 2011).Finally, Justinian handled the Supreme Mega creation of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia. His primary objective was to restore the Roman Empire to its former glory based on a Christian context.

References

Bardill, J. (2011). Constantine, the divine emperor of the Christian golden age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

4.      How the Christian community house located in Dura-Europos reflect the state of Christianity within the Roman Empire

Dura-Europos is a Hellenistic, Parthian, Roman border town built on an escarpment ninety above the right bank of the Euphrates River (Cayley & Powell, 2013). The Christian community house in Dura-Europos was only a small room. It is because the Christians did not enjoy the patronage of the Roman state. The Roman state persecuted the Christians.  Persecution of the Christians was in the form of losing their money. Their house was small and second-hand in contrast to the grand temples that was being supported by the Empire (Cayley & Powell, 2013). Without the approval of the Roman state, the communities would remain quiet and attracted the most impoverished. Christians appeal centered on the equality of judgment in the eternal life to come. The consequence of birth was immaterial to the new converts; this was very imperative. The town was evacuated in the third century CE, leaving its various early cult buildings and shrines virtually intact. It later allowed archeological excavations and has formulated the basis of our understanding of the role of the different religions played within the Empire. The Romans feared and hated the Christians (Ahluwalia, & British, 2008).

Their fear and hatred on the belief system of Christians was predicated; to strange and alien to the Romans. They could hardly accept the idea of a god becoming a man. They also hated the Christians for their stand, not to pay homage to the royal court gods of the Imperial state and those included in that pantheon of gods were the Caesars and Emperors. The Romans also could not accept a belief structure that would hold anything in higher regard than the governing State. It led to persecution and martyrdom of the Christians.

 

 

References

Cayley, E., & Powell, S. (2013). Manuscripts & printed books in Europe 1350-1570: Packaging, Presentation & consumption. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Ahluwalia, R., & British Museum. (2008). Rajput painting: Romantic, divine & courtly art from India. London: British Museum Press.

 

 

 

 

 

5.      The significance of Old Saint Peter’s Basilica

The Old Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City is greatest of Constantine’s Churches in Rome. It is the most famous Roman Catholic Church in the world and also one of the holiest sites in Christendom (Marsham, 2009). The basilica, which is now the Pope’s principal church, was built according to tradition above the burial site of St. Peter, who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. To maintain this significant tradition, Popes are now buried in the Basilica. It was planned and constructed as a replacement for the old Constantinian church that had been erected around 320 CE. It is admired for its Renaissance sculpture as well as its fusion of Baroque and Renaissance architecture.  It’s design, construction and decoration involved the greatest Old Masters of the day.  These Included Alberti, Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini.

Old Saint Peter’s Basilica is called a papal basilica rather than a cathedral because it is not the seat of the principal Bishop. The main Arch Basilica of St. John Lateran is the actual cathedral church of Rome. It functions as the primary church for worshippers living in Rome, whereas the Old Saint Peter’s Basilica serves as the focal point for all pilgrims who visit, as well as locals (Ahluwalia, & British, 2008).

One of the holiest sites of the Basilica is traditionally the burial site of its namesake Simon Peter, the first Bishop of Antioch, and Rome formerly one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. Although the New Testament didn’t mention Peter’s presence in Rome, ancient tradition holds that his tomb is below the baldachin. For this reason, it has served as the burial place for many Popes (Ahluwalia, & British, 2008).

 

References

Ahluwalia, R., & British Museum. (2008). Rajput painting: Romantic, divine & courtly art from India. London: British Museum Press.

Marsham, A. (2009). Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession & succession in the first Muslim empire. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

 

6.      The comparison of the mosaics of Santa Costanza with the mosaics of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.

Mosaics of Santa Costanza depicts well refined example of a central plan building featuring a domed interior. It was thought to be the mausoleum of emperor Constantineʼs daughter, Costanza. Santa Costanza became a church after a period (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003). It has 12 pairs of columns and an ambulatory, which is unique. The pairs of the column are considered to represent the 12 apostles (Cayley & Powell, 2013).  The vault mosaics of Santa Costanza depict putti harvesting grapes and producing wine, motifs associated with Bacchus, a god of the grape harvest.  In contrary, for a Christian the scenes brought to mind a revelation of the Eucharist and the blood of Christ. It is amazing that even in this early Christian context, individuals are getting the pagan imagery.

On the other hand, the largest mosaic in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is an early depiction of Christ as the Good Shepherd. It is seen located over the entrance on the north side. This image was familiar in the Roman catacombs of earlier centuries, but there are significant developments to be considered in this version.

Rather than of being shown as a typical countryman, the Good Shepherd has a large golden halo, holds a tall cross and wears a royal purple mantle over a golden tunic. On either side of him are two groups of three sheep. Another noticeable mosaic is across the room on the south shore; it depicts a saint holding a cross and a book. It is seen to be hurrying towards an iron grate that is being licked by flames (Ahluwalia, & British, 2008). On the left side is an open cabinet with four books inside. It is labeled with the names of the Four Evangelists. The books are clearly seen to be the Four Gospels of the New Testament. It is, therefore, a significant early depiction of the books as a canonical set

 

References

Landes, R., Gow, A., & Meter, D. V. (2003). The Apocalyptic Year 1000: Religious Expectation & Social Change, 950-1050. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cayley, E., & Powell, S. (2013). Manuscripts & printed books in Europe 1350-1570: Packaging, Presentation & consumption. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

 

 

7.      The Classical style of Greece & Rome in the development of Early Christian art.

Early Christian art represents a period of art and its use from the rise of Christianity and its recognition in 313 till the formation of Byzantine art in the 7th century (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003). Initially, the early Christian art had no distinctive patterns.  It was strongly influenced by art and architecture of ancient Rome and Greece. It implies that the art was closely tied to the late antique tradition where it took many of the forms, motifs, and artistic techniques.

The sculptors of the ancient Christianity had constant strive to return to the classical images. For example, the Early Christian architecture utilizes the already existing classic Roman architectural types of the basilica and a rotunda later changing their internal division and spatial relations for its needs (Elsner, 2008). Also, Hellenistic doctrine including Early Christian art and painting depicts the divine as tangible first anthropomorphic form. Therefore, the symbolic images survived which were drawn from the allegorical images of classical art. For instance, Orpheus is portrayed as a symbol of Christ leading the souls out of the inferno. Individual Roman iconographic motifs and pictures were modified. For example, good shepherd, angel, fish, philosopher, grapes, etc (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003).

Relation of Christianity to the rich set of classic subjects under consideration remained confident. It is illogical to assume that before Christ the mankind lived and was able to accumulate so much wisdom and strength without instruction from above in complete ignorance of God. Thus, it was assumed that the divine principle was comprehended. It was said not directly, but through the perception of the divine order of the world. Later, the development of Christianity accelerated the decomposition of classical forms. Laying the basics of medieval art led to large-scale truly revolutionary change (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003).

 

References

Landes, R., Gow, A., & Meter, D. V. (2003). The Apocalyptic Year 1000: Religious Expectation & Social Change, 950-1050. New York: Oxford University Press.

Elsner, J. (2008). Imperial Rome & Christian Triumph: The actual art of the Roman Empire, AD 100-450. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unit V1- Art Appreciation

1.      Briefly describe the unique style of the Psalm 44 page of the Utrecht Psalter.

 

 

The Utrecht Psalter is the earliest and most fully illustrated of a ‘narrative’ group of Carolingian Psalters together with other manuscripts. The greater freedom of their illustrations may represent a different audience for them from the most hieratic productions for the altar and the court. Images are unframed, including that on Psalm 44 page (Baert, 2012).  They are often varied and original in iconography, showing an independence of convention’ and ‘liveliness of mind not found in the more formal books. The Byzantine Psalter represents a comparable tradition in the East. The miniatures are widely based on an earlier manuscript initially disputed by some people but seem to have gained general acceptance by others, though the precise nature and dates of earlier postulated versions vary (Baert, 2012).

The style of the outline drawings on the page is dramatic. The activity marks it, fluttering folds of drapery set in faintly sketched landscape backgrounds stretching the full span of a page and the leaping creatures. Several different episodes are shown in an illustration, some interpreting the text very literally, indeed over literally in typical medieval fashion. One may build on an association with the text to create elaborate images, including New Testament scenes or motifs from Christian iconography. Despite the selfishness of the style, the hands of several different artists can be detected on this single page.

References

Baert, B. (2012). To touch with the gaze: Noli me a tangerine and the iconic space. S.l: s.n..

Catholic University of America. (2007). New Catholic encyclopedia. Detroit: Thomson/Gale.

Brenk, B. (2010). The apse, the image, & the icon: A view historical & perspective of the apse as space for images. Wiesbaden: Reichert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.      Christ figures on the Lindau Gospels book cover in contrast to the “Gero Crucifix.

Crucifixion icons and illustrations in Lindau Gospels books depicted a type of crucified Christ that suggested the dual natures of Christ: his humanity, the crucified body; his non-suffering serene expression, his divinity. The sensationalism of the size must have been the exact image treatment of the crucified Christ (Brown, 2011). On the other hand, in the Gero Crucifix, we see a very human Christ, who hangs upon the cross.  The skin and muscles are stretched from the shoulders across the chest. The stomach bulges out from the weight of the torso pressing down from above. His eyes are closed in death and blood streams down across His forehead. Christ’s lips are contorted, and the mouth at the corners hangs down. Also between the bottom lip and the chin, a deep cup indicates that the head fell onto the chest at the moment of his death. It is not a serene image (Brown, 2011).

The Gero Crucifix symbolizes a return to the monumental scale of sculpture that had fallen out of favor since the beginning of Middle Ages. Approximately six feet and two inches, the Gero Crucifix is a life-size figure of the dead Christ that confronts its viewers with silent and palpable emotion. The figure of Christ is definitively dead; this so as the sagging body and closed eyes attest. The pain of his ordeal is seen to register still on his face, yet it is true that the moment of agony has apparently passed into a state of lifelessness (Fanous, & Leyser, 2008). The representation of the body on this scale has parallels with classical art. The style of the Gero Crucifix is even though utterly different. In contrast to the idealized, athletic, youthful figures such as the Kritios Boy, Christ’s body is soft and slack, a body that has been denied, rather than exercised. This polychrome provides the figure presence and reality, making the emotion all the more accessible. Gero Crucifix is not only a symbol of Christ, but it is also a tool for his body in the form of the Eucharist. That is wine and bread for the Mass, which stored in a compartment unit at the back of the head (Fanous, & Leyser, 2008).

 

References

Brown, P. R. L. (2011). The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise, Growth & function in Latin Christianity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Fanous, S., & Leyser, H. (2008). The life of Christina of Markyate. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hoffmann, A., & Wolf, G. (2012). Jerusalem as narrative space =: Erzählraum Jerusalem. Leiden [etc.: Brill.

 

 

 

3.       The juxtaposition of Old and New Testament scenes of the Bernward Doors from Saint Michael at Hildesheim.

The intellectual content of the narrative structure representation of the sixteen panels on the doors seems match the refined and dedicated skills that went into their production as a physical object. It is worth noting that Bishop Bernard probably designed the iconographical program himself (Gameson, 1997). Scenes from the Old and also the New Testaments are seen to be paired together, juxtaposing the chronological history and order of the fall of humanity and salvation through Christ. They work independently from each other as well. From the image, the left wing has eight scenes from Genesis, beginning at the topmost with the creation of Adam, moving downward, and finally ending with the murder of Abel. The right wing, on the other hand, is beginning at the bottom of the door and running upward. It shows the illustration of the New Testament from the Annunciation to the scene of Christ and Mary Magdalene after the resurrection (Gameson, 1997).

These views are seen to be arranged in groups of four. First, in the Old Testament sequence, the upper four scenes depict Adam and Eve in paradise before the expulsion, the lower four depicting the life after deportation. It contrasts with the New Testament side where the lower four scenes deal with Christ’s childhood starting with the life Mary, to the upper four dealing with the trial before Pilate and finally Passion of Christ. The placement Bernard decision for these scenes is interesting in the link with which the contrasting scenes are depicted. Original Sin is seen next to the Crucifixion, with Christ sacrificing himself for the man’s sins, or original sin. Eve sucking Cain is facing the Virgin and Child in the Adoration scene, showing the mother of the first murderer with the mother of the martyr of humanity(Elsner, 2008). The contrast between women depicted in these scenes could not be more noticeable. Eve, full of sexuality, dooms humanity due to her selfish behavior. She in turn bears a child who commits humanity’s first murder (Gameson, 1997). Mary, a virgin of such pure intentions amazingly that she is the epitome of saintly behavior comes to assume the savior of all humankind.

 

 

References

Elsner, J. (2008). Imperial Rome & Christian Triumph: The actual art of the Roman Empire, AD 100-450. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gameson, R. (1997). The study of the Bayeux Tapestry. Woodbridge: Boydell.

 

 

 

4.      Brief description of a typical pilgrimage church.

A pilgrimage usually involved a long journey to a sacred place known as a shrine. The pilgrimage church had longer ways and double side aisles (Gardner, H., & Kleiner, 2013). The addition of transept, radiating chapels and ambulatory were used so as to accommodate the growing number of followers. The veneration of martyrs apparently led to the building of such shrines to which the faithful often came in droves. The churches generated more excitement as they became geographically inaccessible. The pilgrims willingly embraced the hardships and obstacles endured in crossing rugged terrain (Gardner, H., & Kleiner, 2013).

Spiritual rewards, insurance against famine, acts of penance, proof of devotion and plague were some of the reasons pilgrims moved for days to an often out-of-the-way shrine. Other individuals journeyed to the pilgrimage churches to seek the intercession of particular saints for cures of the sick and blessings. Whatever the reason for his movement, the pilgrim enjoyed a particular special status as he made his way to the shrine. During his sacred excursion, he was wholly exempt from taxes, confiscation of his property, debts, arrest and was often entertained or honored. As almost all people believed that anyone was aiding a pilgrim shared in his grace(Gardner, & Kleiner, 2013).

Both positive and adverse effects of the pilgrims on the towns along the popular routes were many. Markets bustled, churches were crowded, building and shipping industries boomed, and customs, tables, and songs were exchanged. Art objects and souvenirs carried by the pilgrims helped spread artistic styles from one nation to another. The necessity of accommodating large crowds resulted in a series of new churches along these pilgrimage routes (Gardner, H., & Kleiner, 2013).

References

Gardner, H., & Kleiner, F. S. (2013). Gardner’s art through the ages. Boston, Mass: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Fanous, S., & Leyser, H. (2008). The life of Christina of Markyate. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hoffmann, A., & Wolf, G. (2012). Jerusalem as narrative space =: Erzählraum Jerusalem. Leiden [etc.: Brill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.      Groin vaults change on the weight shift in structures

A ceiling of built in a principle arch using materials such stones, concrete, and bricks is called a vault. Two or more intersecting vaults form an edge; this side is referred to as a groin. A groin vault can also be seen as a barrel vault, although actually, the barrel vault was more frequent in the old architecture and other early civilization. The groin vault was developed by the Romans to be applied in various uses. King Attalos later became the first person to use groin vault for construction in Europe (Thompson, & Metropolitan, 2007).

A groin vault results from the intersection of two barrel vaults. A trunk allows more flexibility in covering vast interiors space while a post-and-lintel system is limited by the structural components of uprights and crossbeams (Cayley & Powell, 2013). These do not permit grand interior or in open space. Groin in the Tribune galleries as well as in the ground-floor and Isles absorbed the pressure of the nave’s barrel cut along the entire length of the nave. The groin vaults served as buttresses from the barrel vault and transferred the main thrust to the thick outer walls.

 Groin vault construction and design can be easily visualized by observing two pipes connected forming a square-like unit (Cayley & Powell, 2013). The resultant structure conveys the weight of the total structure at corners of the four pillars. The groin structure design is preferred to the barrel design since it is strong. Also, the barrel vault structures must stand on very long walls, thus less high compared with the former.

References

Cayley, E., & Powell, S. (2013). Manuscripts & printed books in Europe 1350-1570: Packaging, Presentation & consumption. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Thompson, N. L., & Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). (2007). Roman Art: A Resource for Educators. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

 

 

6.      In what way do the following figures embody Romanesque style? (1) Lions and Old Testament prophet, the trumeau south portal of Saint-Pierre, Moissac, France; and (2) Initial R with knight fighting dragons, from Moralia in Job, from Citeaux, France.

In the Old Testament, the Lion of Judah belonged to King David.  This reference appears directly underneath Christ — which suggests that the Old Testament King is supporting the New Testament King (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003. On the other side, the Trumeau sculpture depicts an Old Testament Prophet, who may be Jeremiah or Isaiah.  His identity as a prophet is based on the scroll that he holds.  Stylistically, this prophet is very similar to the angels that flank the symbols of the Four Evangelists.  The figure is very elongated.  There is no sense of body proportion.  There is no weight shift — in fact, the body appears totally weightless.  The carving is very shallow, and the folds associated with the drapery are very flat and stylized and reminiscent of manuscript illumination. The prophet face is very compassionate (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003).

The term “Romanesque” means “Roman-like, which was first mentioned in the 19th century. The Romanesque period was later characterized by technological and economic resurgence in Europe.  There were good farming and productivity.  The agricultural basis of the early Medieval period was slowly replaced by the growth of towns whose economy was based on commerce (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003). France is an excellent example of Romanesque style marble relief sculpture. The subject is the Second Coming of Christ as King and Judge of the World in its Last Days.  The drapery displays hard folds and severe cuts. Christ is executed in rather shallow relief. He is flanked by the symbols of the Four Evangelists. The remaining figures are crowned musicians who make music to praise God. The numbers are highly elongated and almost disjointed (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003).

 

References

Landes, R., Gow, A., & Meter, D. V. (2003). The Apocalyptic Year 1000: Religious Expectation & Social Change, 950-1050. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lanzi, F., & Lanzi, G. (2004). Saints & their symbols: Recognizing saints in art & favorite images. Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press.

 

 

 

 

 

7.      Comparison and contrast of Carolingian and Ottonian sculpture. Considering the development and evolution of sculptural styles.

Carolingian architecture and art are often considered to have been the earliest manifestations of discernible Germanic art. Generally as the center of Charlemagne’s empire, the Rhineland was the home of the massive palace chapel at Aachen. It was decorated with mosaics and had contemporary churches such as the one at Fulda. Many of these features show the revival of early Christian plans depicted in most Early Christian art and architecture readings. Carolingian ivory book covers and diptychs are said to have been also notable (Thompson, & Metropolitan, 2007).

The first outstanding examples of German painting and sculpture are said to have been created during the Ottonian dynasty. Many splendid manuscripts, enriched by illuminations remarkable for their force of linear expression, were issued from the school of Reichenau, for example, the Gospels of Otto III and State Library, Munich (Thompson, & Metropolitan, 2007). While in Cologne miniature painting, they exhibited a brilliant use of color. Elegant and smooth craftsmanship is apparent in the metalwork of this period.  This is clearly noticeable from the small objects produced by the goldsmiths of Mainz to more great achievements. These include things such as the bronze doors for the Church of St. Michael at Hildesheim.

The architecture and fine art of St. Michael’s exemplifies a tendency in Ottonian buildings and structures toward the growth of a complex ground plan. An excellent and highly rational system was devised of dividing the church into a series of separate units. This was a super method that was to be of great consequence in Romanesque design (Thompson, & Metropolitan, 2007).

 

 

References

Marsham, A. (2009). Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession & succession in the first Muslim empire. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Thompson, N. L., & Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). (2007). Roman Art: A Resource for Educators. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion Board Art Appreciation Unit V 100 words

1. Why did Constantine not have monumental sculptures made in his honor like rulers of the past? Why do you think he chose more architectural projects instead?
How did the architecture of Late Antiquity and Byzantium reflect the emergence of Christianity?

Byzantine art, which is the art of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the form of Christianity emerged in Constantinople, headquarters of the Roman Empire in the East. It was the first category of Christian art to blossom. An indication of the theocratic state that it represented, Christian art specialized in architecture, mural, icon painting, and mosaic art. Byzantine artists also excelled at items of jewelry, ivories, and Goldsmith and produced the earliest illuminated codex or manuscript (Elsner, 2008).

As the power of Rome reduced, that of Constantinople grew. In 534, the armies of Justinian I invaded Italy and in 540 conquered Ravenna, which became the seat of Byzantine government in Italy. From then to 600, the Exarch of Ravenna instigated a significant building program of churches in the city and its port township: they included the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare and San Vitale in Classes. The San Vitale Basilica combines a Roman dome, with a Byzantine polygonal apse, doorways and stepped towers as well as Byzantine capitals, and narrow bricks.

References

Brenk, B. (2010). The apse, the image, & the icon: A view historical & perspective of the apse as space for images. Wiesbaden: Reichert.

Elsner, J. (2008). Imperial Rome & Christian Triumph: The actual art of the Roman Empire, AD 100-450. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

Discussion Board Unit VI

 

2.  The reasoning behind the extravagant display of architecture and the most modest display of sculpture during this time

Once Christianity was legally permitted, its need for religious art increased rapidly. New churches were built as centers of worship, using the architectural design of the basic Roman Basilica (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003). A typical basilica church had a middle nave with one or more aisles on either side and a semi-circular/polygonal apse at the other end. It was covered by a sectional vault or semi-dome; the apse became the presbytery with a raised platform, upon which sat the bishop, also the altar and his priests. Baptisteries were also designed and built for various events, notably baptism followed by anointing-with-oil, as non-baptized people were not allowed to enter the Christian Basilica. Most interior decorations of these new religious buildings were done with mosaics (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003). The sculptural decoration of sarcophagi resulted to a more intricate one, often illustrating various scenes from the Bible. Almost no sculpture in the round was modeled, for fear of creating pagan-style idols. Relief sculpture was, thus, standard, mostly in stone although ivory carving was another common medium. Overall, the 4th century witnessed art, the application of richer materials, and the development of precise narrative sequences. Also, during the 5th century, Christian imagery started according greater importance to religious significance than to realism (Landes, Gow, & Meter, 2003). Therefore, realistic perspective, proportions, color and light were downgraded in favor of standardized conventions and symbols when portraying Biblical events and figures

References

Catholic University of America. (2007). New Catholic encyclopedia. Detroit: Thomson/Gale.

 

Landes, R., Gow, A., & Meter, D. V. (2003). The Apocalyptic Year 1000: Religious Expectation & Social Change, 950-1050. New York: Oxford University Press.

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