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7.2 ARTH 213, October 26th

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Art History
ARTH 214
Cathleen Hoeniger

ARTH 213 Renaissance Art and Architecture Friday, October 26 2012 Slide Test Major Problems  Lack of knowledge of course material  A lot of people didn’t answer the essay questions that were posed  Pay super close attention to the extra readings (like Vasari) Early Renaissance Sculpture in Tuscany Filippo Brunelleschi, Dome, Florence Cathedral, 1420-36  Competitions in Florence were very important o Usual method to choose an artist for important public commission  In 1418 a competition was held for this project to devise a means to create a new dome for Florence Cathedral o It had been without a dome for a long time o Around 1370 the Florentines had torn down their old Cathedral and built a huge new Cathedral – but they weren’t able to build the dome to cover the Cathedral with the technology they had  Competitions were the usual Florentine method of choosing artists for important public commissions  Both Ghiberti and Brunelleschi built brick models illustrating how they would build the dome – they were chosen to work together in the early stages of the project  Worked together with Ghiberti in the early period of the dome – but they didn’t get along and Ghiberti was dismissed in 1425 – the major portions of the dome project are usually attributed to Brunelleschi Baptistery, Florence, 11 century, with white Carrara marble and dark green marble from Prato  Competition for the baptistery doors  Sculpture was made for the façade of the Cathedral, the Baptistery doors, and the Guild Hall of Florence – important sculpture  3 sets of bronze doors were made in relief style o South, East, and North doors o Christian stories  Very important competition  3 main locations for which sculpture was made in Florence o Façade of the Cathedral o Baptistery doors o Guild hall of Florence  3 sets of bronze doors were created for the baptistery o Decorated with panels done in bronze – done in relief style o Panels had narrative scenes on them from Christian stories and history o Completed in the 14 century  Andrea Pisano completed the South doors in 1336 o No relation to Nicola and Giovanni Pisano o Patronage came from a wealthy guild in the city – the guild of the woolen weavers – arte di calimala (craft professions were organized into guilds)  Guilds often sponsored public commisions  Florence became wealthy in part from weaving wool cloth  Was incredibly important during the winter  Patron saint was John the Baptist  He herded sheep and wears a wool cape  One of the richest guilds in the city  New competition announced in 1401 for the two other sets of doors o Most prestigious opportunity for an artist in Tuscany since it would be displayed on one of the most important buildings in the city, right in the heart of city life o 7 contestants, all from Tuscany, including Ghiberti and Brunelleschi o Subject was the sacrifice of Isaac, to be enclosed in a quatrefoil frame o Were given topic and format to follow o 34 judges argued between the two finalists, until they finally decided on Ghiberti o Technical exercise, but style was also a part of the decision  Filippo Brunelleschi, Sacrifice of Isaac, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, 1402-3 o Contest for the other two sets of the doors  Partly a technical exercise  But style was also on trial o Competed against Ghiberti again o In a quatrefoil frame (4 decorative compartments) o They were given the topic and the format  High biblical emotion o Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his own son for God, but is stopped by an angel at the last moment o The knife is on Isaac’s throat – very dramatic o Cast the background in one piece, and soldered the figures onto the background o The bronze is somewhat experimental  Looks a little bit piecemeal o Filled the whole surface, put the dramatic scene front and center – could be seen as slightly fragmentary o The boy removing the thorn from his foot is reminiscent of an ancient sculpture o Background is cast in one piece and the figures and animals were soldered onto the background o Bronze is somewhat experimental because there’s some disjunction between the figures and the landscape o Filled the surface with the dramatic scene in the center, but it’s a little piecemeal – it’s a little fragmentary o Compare to Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Sacrifice of Isaac, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, 1402-3  Less ancient in feel  Extraordinary technical ability  Everything is cast in one piece, except for the figure of Isaac – extraordinary technical feat  Resulting in more unity throughout the composition  In the process of reviving bronze casting form the Ancient world  Only Isaac was cast separately  Fully frontal nude of Isaac is reminiscent of Antiquity  Less dramatic scene – the knife is not yet on the neck  Force of movement is shown through Abraham’s billowing robes  Gesture creates the sense of movement  Foreshortening of the angel entering from the top right  More dramatic  Landscape is particularly interesting, the figures were cast as part of the same casting are better integrated into the landscape  Figures were gilded to make them stand out from the background  Late gothic aspects  Sinuous and flowing rhythm remind us of the late Gothic style – the way it curves and structures the composition  Drapery doesn’t fully reveal the forms  Decorative aspects echo late international gothic o Triumph allowed Ghiberti to become an influential sculptor, and Brunelleschi focused on architecture o Ghiberti won the commission for both sets of bronze doors on the baptistery Lorenzo Ghiberti, North Doors, Baptistery, Florence, 1403-24  Vast project – he would have had workshop assistance, but bronze casting is so difficult, this cannot be done overnight – takes a lot of time  Feature stories from the New Testament, the life of Christ  Top 20 panels show gospel scenes  28 panels in total  Frames are quatrefoil  Bellow, there are seated figures that represent the four evangelists, and the four church fathers  Also did the decoration around the doors – fabulous, naturalistic, border o Incredible naturalistic imagery in the border o Artists were representing nature very accurately  Annunciation, (Panel on the North Doors), Baptistery, Florence, before 1407 o First panel completed o Demonstrates late international gothic style  Was very popular in Florence until 1425-1430 o Slim, elongated figures o Space within the portico where the Virgin is standing o Sense of space by the architecture o Foreshortened figure in the top left corner of God, sending the Holy Ghost to the Virgin o Spiritual event – sending down the dove is a very literal way of telling the story of the event  Flagellation (Panel on the North Doors), Baptistery, Florence, 1416-19 o One of the last panels to be completed o Ancient form of architecture (no arches – post and lintel structure)  Rather rare because of returning to ancient forms of structure  Overt classical revival, influenced by his recent studies o Scene from Christ’s Passion o In between completing these two parts of the doors, Ghiberti went to Rome in 1416, where he studied classical sculpture and architecture (as can now be seen in his later pieces) o Men are depicted with great dramatic effect beating Christ Orsanmichele, Florence, Rebuilt 1337  Public competition was held  Originally an open loggia – it was a grain market o Guilds of Florence met here o There didn’t used to be doors o Had a miraculous image inside  Considered to be extremely powerful by Christian devotees  Arcades were closed when it was rebuilt in 1337 – the lower part became a shrine  Very large doors  Andrea Orcagna. Tabernacle. C.1352-59. Orsanmichele, Florence o The lower part became a shrine to the miracle working image of the Virgin – marble shrine  Decided in 1339 that the exterior should be decorated with 14 niches o Two years after the arches were filled in with doors o Each niche was assigned to a major guild in Florence o The guilds w
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