ART HISTORY LECTURE OCT 27.docx

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15 Apr 2012
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ART HISTORY NEW REALITIES VISUALIZED: THE ARENA CHAPEL IN ITALY
GIOTTO- October 28th 2010
Status of Giotto in art history
Cutting edge, border b/w medieval art and renaissance art, works embody aspects of renaissance and
style but novelty of his work accomplished by different means
*Madonna on throne with Christ on her lap comparison student who surpassed his teacher
Influenced by byzantine art , aspects of medieval aesthetics- arrangement of figure- angels seem flat,
faces and posses are rather conventional ,none looks at image at centre- there is no interconnection, they
all seem light like leaves, Christ looks like miniature human being,
Giotto angels look heavier- how he juxtaposes areas of dark and light color- work to model the form 3d
aspect of volumes , relationship with figures- looking in the centre- space is different, see novelty of
Giotto style depicting space as seen in nature- conscious distribution of figures, he plays with figures so
there someone in forefront , middle ground indicated he indicates special accession looks real-
precursor to renaissance, rendering human form and emotion in more realistic way naturalism, int of
human form , dramatic all over frescoes
Status of renaissance artist: Giotto early example whose work and life were intertwined he was famous
and perpetuated in writings of his contemporaries- medieval artist regulated to secondary position - god
master artist, renaissance artist socially empowered , not only from quality of work but also mediated
through text
Lived in Florence but he traveled,
Revival of classical antiquity in art , comparison to Greek artist, - rendering natural appearance in natural
manner,
Artists ability to imitate nature new concept of art- type of art/ aesthetic based on imitating nature and
transferring them with great naturalism into works- pictorial illusions
Arena Chapel- main accomplishment built in 1300-1303- also where one of earliest university was built
Main donor was member of wealthiest family shift , artist not working for royals etc but for the middle
class,- assumption of middle class financial elite took role of patronage in art- enabled renaissance art to
flourish and slow disengagement of art from roman catholic church, art for middle class pleasure and
enjoyment, financial
Certain degree of freedom
Chapel as personal chapel and funerary monument
Money lending at high interest rate-usury church didn’t like it- it was a sin, sending you to hell
Frescoes demonstrate change of heart , panic, sense of doomsday, feeling sorry for sins, - shown in the
themes he chose, which revolve around usury as a sin and hopes that his sins will be forgiven through
images of mother Mary
Role of virgin Mary as intercessor for humans
Lives of Mary’s parents
Upper register on south east wall- jack and Anna conception of Mary, narrative moves
Suspended between images of Mary who will intercede and warning of the last judgment, sense of
redemption is always on your mind psychological frame work of viewer is b/w salvation Mary/ warning
of last judgment
At the bottom representation of personification of medieval vices and virtues
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