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ARTH 212 week 1.docx

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Queen's University
Art History
ARTH 212
M Barbara Reeves

ARTH 212 week 1, Lecture 2 3/8/2013 8:44:00 PM Constantine and the Arts of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries *Assignment due 4 thof October - first part is „facts‟ -other half, analysis of why it is important -site paper; if you like, site textbook -Stylistic change based on a new religion> does this happen? -while its origins are important, its not possible to say that Constatine allowed it to change the style or Art Columns of Trajan, 112-17 and Marcus Aurelius 180-92 -both in rome -some of stylistic change away from mimetic (mimesis) >the reproduction of what we understand as reality that is shown in art >towards something more abstract -prof thinks it‟s a misunderstood change in art history Adlocutio position -one column vs the other -both incredibly sophisticated -basic iconography is common> adlocutio (stance, gesture of silence> giving a commandment/going to give an address) >emperor shown giving a command, sign of power, figures addressing a crowd -what is different? >Trajan: different kind of composition; seems more 3D bc stacked them, seems recession in space; figures have different position, personality, clothing, etc. ; Trajan if offcenter, not larger, what tells us who is is his address >Marcus: more static, abstract, all figures are together, isocephaly: all the guys heads on one line, very frieze like; not so different, individualized, kinda like cookie cutter, individual personality is less important; much more 2D approach; still powerful but speaks to us in a diff way; Marcus is also larger than all other figures, putting him right in center of the composition Image of battle Trajan: background gives us a sense in history Marcus: no real idea to tell where you are, no typography, no architect; dissolution in background can allow it to be any time in history Four Tetrarchs from Constantinople c 300 >made of porphyry (very hard, durable material only supposed to be used for rulers) -four rulers in circular kind of pattern, all embracing each other -more abstract representation vs a bust of Marcus Aurelius -bust: trying to depict an actual person, deep carving and heavy under cutting to show details of the face -tetrarchs: lack of details is symbol of unity rather than just being four specific guys; human figure not representation if itself (unlike classical) but becomes abstract rep of a character >signifier and the signified in semiotics; sign itself means something different -Battle at Milvian Bridge 313 >Constantine was given a sign by God to convert to Christianity >sign of Chi Ro (XP Greek) -in Constantines biography (which was meant to celebratory, not actual believed) >Constantine marched into battle under the sign of the cross -Edict of Milan 313 >four months later >Christianity is absolutely legal but it is one of the many religions that will be promoted in the land Arch of Constantine 312-15 -symbol of victory upon his return to home (from Battle at Milvan Bridge) -sign in Christian imagination as symbol of Christian victory -arch meant to be passage ways into the city as a sacred portal -he does something a little unusual: uses sculpture from the past >idea of building arches was very common, traditional Friezes (new) -shows Constantine as what he gives back to rome -canonization of new art -adaptation of a humble style of art; abstract form> adopted from provincial areas of Rome (ie not very sophisticated, advanced) -series of repetitious figures; not individual; isophatic heads: all on one line -constantine is larger and he cuts through the isophatic line >he‟s huge and in the center> how leaders will now be identified (unlike classical) -very 2D -what is this new style of art telling us (provincial, humble mode) >removal of narrative (not meant to be taking place at one time or place); not meant to be specific people but rather an idea court; going from an area of time (in antique art) and a sense of timelessness Spolia: Appropriating the Past >took down old imperial monumnents and put them into his own arch >such as from Trajan monument -why? Making art within a grand tradition even though making Christian art; positioning himself in this grand imperial tradition of art making; using the past to confirm his position amongst the great ancient emperors, but within a new context (of Christian emperor) Colossus of Constantines, 313 -huge (head almost 9 feet tall) -monumental image of Constantine -body would have been large wooden body -very clear moment of stylistic change >different from imperial portraiture -how is he both dividing himself from them and allysing himself from him? >returned to the period of Augustus with clean shaven look> grand tradition but separates himself from recent tradition (show emperor with beards) >eyes are looking up to heaven; eyes are massive> they become mirrors of the souls >what are they looking at (antique sculptures)> looking straight ahead, look out to world around them because they were commanding it >old have a sense of time> engaged in time, hair itself has movement which put them at a moment of time -constantine is abstract static representation of Christian emperor >forms specific iconographic type that are seen 100 years later (such of painting of Otto III) Architecture as “The Heavenly Jerusalem” (Revelation 21, etc) -it wasn‟t until Constantine that great churches started to be built -legalizing religion, sponsoring it officially with Edict of Milan -every church is suppose to be “heavenly Jerusalem” >Revelation 21: John being led by an angel >he saw a new heaven, gods dwelling place is now among the people -idea of architecture being a bejeweled setting >all chrsitian buildings are meant to represent this >buildings ment to have this kind of effect on you -architecture‟s purpose change, what it‟s meant to do Basillica at Trier, 300 -secular building, not meant to be a church -now has become Christian setting -logical typology of architecture for a church was the town center -type of building that becomes stamped out Santa Sabina, Rome 422-432 -see where its model comes from -same great eastern apse, repeating round headed windows, two levels of windows -but how is this a departure from the town hall?how has it engaged with scripture? >more decorative: marble floor and panels, the apse (back wall) is very decorative; stained glass (luminous and bright work of art, „bejewlling” as It was commanded) -Early crucifixion imagery >Christ and the two thieves >one thief converts and the other doesn‟t >im
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