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Lecture 3

Week 3 Lecture notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Betsy Purvis

Continuation of last week's lecture (Competition & Sculpture) - Bronze Doors Brunelleschi - what happened to him? see him again in early 1410's - by early 1300's the nave & up to the base of the dome in the Cathedral had been completed - had envisioned a cathedral so large - ran into a problem with execution of dome because the crossing (width span) was so large 140 feet in width (outstripped pantheon) was largest dome in all Christiandom until St Peter's - when have a problem have a competition - ask for architects and builders to submit design to try to determine how to do it. - traditional building methods weren't going to work largely because of costs - would require massive scaffolding - with domes always have to consider weight in relation to the width that its going to cover - don't want it to be so heavy that it collapses in on itself - some of suggestions strayed into the absurd (fill with dirt and lay with gold coins) Brunelleschi came up with the solution - concerned that if he shared the idea his competitors would steal it - had been away from florence for a while and so didn't have the network of support that he needed (networks were crucial) - he decides to hold a competition - anyone who can get egg to stand upright will prove that they're a better engineer than i am - his solution was a Double Shelled dome - outer shell and an inner shell and use the fact that its an octagon - uses each of the corners as a rib and breaks into 8 sections - instead of solid masonry he uses stone to build a series of lattice for reinforcement - within lattice he uses specially molded terracotta bricks (much lighter than stone) - he wove into a herringbone pattern (interlocking grid) - built in a set of spiral stairs, like a corkscrew as another chain reinforcement and as a way to move up into the top of the dome and the lattern - decided to build the scaffolding as he went along, mobile scaffolding that they would build and move. all they needed at the bottom was equivalent of a couple elevator shafts - moved with progression of construction Ghiberti put on the crew as a "co-captain" which Brunelleschi was livid about - becomes a question of a bitter rivalry between the two of them - Brunelleschi calls in sick one day and work grinds to a halt, however Ghiberti has friends in high places and there are no consequences for work stopping - however there comes a point when it has an impact - Ghiberti responsible for a section that would have crumbled in - Ghiberti taken off cathedral works but kept on the payroll - Brunelleschi in his niche looking up at the dome he built (slide) - didn't live to see it completed - over half of his major commissions - form of the Dome was Gothic (planned that way) Competitive Spirit in Fifteenth Century Rome - revival of figurative motifs from antiquity - donatello & verrocchio slide (from northern italy) - looking at rise (revival) of new type of sculpture - equestrian monument - Donatello was the first of these two to be called to the north (Gattamelata - Condottiere - mercenary soldier) - leading general of an army of mercenary soldiers - Venice in similar situation to Florence in that had to rely on soldiers for hire - Gattamelata was hired by Venetians to bring Padua into the republic - long histroy of created monuments to these types of condottiere - first time had equestrian monument of this type - competing with the legacy of the military leader (patron competing with historical figures) - Donatello is competing with monuments of military leaders - Antiquity is an important point of reference - Marcus Aurelius (slide) is best known - HOrses of st mark brought back by venetians - City of Pavia the Regisole - ends up being destroyed by french troops by Napoleonic invasion Monument to Bernabo & MOnument to Cangrande - what differentiates these to the patron is the status of the people shown on horseback - Gattamelata doesn't come from aristocracy - created own status, fame and wealth - whereas Visconti && della Scala came from noble backgrounds - when they fought for territories they took for themselves and were the rulers of - these medieval types are closer to those of antiquity (aurelius) then donatello's because of the status - with regards to form model medieval - visconti can see crests on chest of armour - in style of chivalric knight - Cangrande shown in light hearted chivalric nature - rather in battle armour showing himself in jousting armour - still idea of victorious warrior but light hearted vein (always shown with a funny smile) - benevolent military ruler Donatello's Gattamelata - monument that takes leaps and bounds forward in the way it aggrandizes him - typically Condontierre would request a modest monument that city would pay for - however in this case its big and expensive and bronze - he left money in his will for , city did not pay for it - speaks to aspirations he had for himself - sort of legacy he wanted to leave - put himself on par with military leaders from antiquity - stylistically his costume is a bit of a hybrid - some of the details of the armour on leg are contemporary - gothic style armour - yet armour for upper body and detail on breastplate then start to see classical motifs from ancient roman armour - very likely ceremonial armour - expression on face there is no room for projecting a light hearted persona - he looks more like sombre image like marcus aurelius - in gestures as he holds baton - can see him in kind of gesture that mirrors regisole or marcus aurelius - (precedents patron trying to rival and imiate) - also have Donatello trying to rival and imitate - from a technical achievement with an equestrian monument like this in bronze, no one had pulled off since antiquity (Donatello first for Renaissance to pull of feat of casting equestrian figure in bronze) Verrocchio's MOnument to Bartolomeo Colleoni (another Condontierre) - responsible for important battle won for Venetian's - had left stipulations & money in his will for an equestrian monument - wanted statue within cathedral (same with Donatello's statue) - city was very leery to have a mercenary inside the church given the social and political implications - imperial aspirations of an individual within a republic were like oil and water (both ended up outside the cathedral) - also placed in competition with antique sculptures and also in competition with Donatello (across immediate generations) - Verrocchio imparts own style into monument - very expressive style that Verrocchio has adapted - fierce and expressive - different sense of figure from two angles - from one side the focal point is the face (shoulders angle) - from the ofther side (left) focal point is the chest puffed out, baton, pulling the reins - becomes a challenge artistically between Verrocchio and Donatello for capturing a mind behind the face (psychology behind the figure) - legacy and the legend of who they were on the battlefield - trangulating between antiquity and predecessor donatello Pollaiuolo's & Leonardo's - to honour Francesco Sforza (was never completed) - Pollaiuolo's - never before have you seen this type of figure with rearing horse and he's leaning forward as he tramples his adversary - the concept is very dynamic and loaded with creating idea of victorious general - Davinci scoops commission for this monument - installed himself as the court artist and taking responsibility - one of his sketches borrows from Pollaiuolo's
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