FAH101H1 Lecture Notes - Liberal Arts Education, Giorgio Vasari, Architectural Theory

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19 Apr 2012
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2011-10-13 Art History
The Gothic Cathedral: Chartres
- coined by the Italian artists biographer Giorgio Vasari around 1550.
- Criticizes the non-classical portions of some French and German structures (Romanesque)
- Fashioned the vaults with pointed arches of quarter circles, and filled all Italy with these
damnable buildingsRomanesque
- Painting dominates the visual
aspect of the walls. Imperfections
of the buildings were often
covered up with paintings.
- Few small windows
- i.e. Berzé-la-ville(France)
- Architecture and light dominates
- Big windows and stained glass
- Associated with the feudal system
- Related to the house of the French
kings (the Capetian dynasty)
- I.e. Noyon Cathedral
The Seven Liberal Arts
- Elementary group (Trivium): First embracing grammar, rhetoric, dialectic: the sciences of
language, of oratory, of logic or language studies
- Intermediate group (quadrivium): Arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music: uppermost,
terminal grade.
Gothic Architecture
- Birthplace : Ile- de-France (also politically domain of the Capetian dynasty of kings)
- Not a logical sequel to Romanesque architecture not an antithesis of Romanesque
building principles
- Characterized by the coordination and transformation of many Romanesque elements,
resulting in an architectural system that was novel and distinct from the Romanesque art.
- Typical Gothic elements: pointed arches, ribbed vaults, big windows, light , etc. and how
these elements are amalgamated in their coherent system based on theology and
architectural theory
- 11th, 12th and especially 13th century: scientific approach to, and the awakening of a whole
century that is marked by the growing desire to explore and to measure the natural and
divine cosmos of mankind
- An illustration from the frontispieces
Moralized Bible
from the first third of the thirteenth
century depicts God creating cosmos with a compass- God the architect
- Understood that God created the universe based on geometrical laws.
- Application of Geometrical principles: not just limited to purely theoretical and technical
- Three personalities of the ancient and Renaissance times: Platon, Augustine and Pseudo-
- Mathematical (analogical) meaning: going beyond the superficial belief or science by
making a connection between appearances to the divine order.
- Augustinian aesthetics of number and proportions: architects of 11th and 12th c. relied on
Construction element of Gothic Buildings
- Metaphysics of numbers, weight and measure
- Thin walls
- Represents the vision of Heaven, Metaphysical experience of the transcendental world.
- Romanesque and Gothic cathedral both have eschatological (directed to transcendental
world) theme
- Light: most noble of all phenomena and the least material. Mystery of incarnation is
perceived as light illuminating the world.
Saint Denis
- Suger Abbot of st. Denis -Preserved the relics of the same martyr who in 3rd c. converted
France to Christianity. Catastrophically, the ceiling collapsed soon after
- The plan of Chevet: eastern part of the abbey church of st.Denis
main characteristics: small radiation chapels and the prominent ribbed vault and
ambulatory- allows the visitors to walk around the vaults
- 10 wise and foolish virgins: on the central western portal- story of 5 wise virgins having
enough oil to await the bridegroom for the wedding and the other 5 not having enough
- Jamb statues: sculptures attached to columns. Bernard Montfaucons drawings depict
them( but the statues are no longer existent due to the French revolution)
The Last Judgment
- Conques, Last Judgment c.1130: graphic depiction of the torture and explicit explanation
of the consequences of sins (Romanesque)
- St. Denis, Last Judgment c.1145: more intellectual approach to Last Judgment. God looks
like a judge with juries around hi,. (Gothic)
Chartres Cathedral
- Notre Dame
- Most significant place as to its royal and ecclesiastical realms
- Flying buttresses: first to have been conceived
- Has a tripartite elevation: Clerestorey, Triforium and Arcades
- Noyon and Laon has four-part
elevations schemes whereas Chartres
and Ameines has tripartite
- Labyrinth on the floor of the nave
- Architectural Gothic terms