VAH1041 Chapter 6-8 Notes

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Western University
Visual Arts History
Visual Arts History 1040
Kathryn Brush

Chapter 6: Etruscan and Roman Art - Decorated with “triumphal insignia” o Visually linked with old Roman virtues of strength, courage, piety - Recounts Constantine’s victory over Maxelius (co-ruler) in definitive battle that declared him sole ruler of Western Roman Empire - Associates/connects him visually with predecessors Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius  political authority & legitimacy of power - 2-D hierarchal approach  emphasis on power and his seeing himself as having elevated status Chapter 7: Jewish, Early Christian, and Byzantine Art - Monothestic: believed in same God of Abraham - “Religions of the book” o Jewish: Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) o Christian: Old + New Testament o Muslim: Qur’an - Jews and Christians: narrative and iconic imagery - Muslims: words rather than figural images Early Jewish Art nd - Canaan settlement began 2 M BCE - King Solomon built First Temple in Jerusalem 10 C BCE to house Ark of the Covenant - Neo-Babylonians destroyed it, Titus destroyed the Second Temple (70 CE) - Jews gathered in synagogues to study the Torah (in private homes) - Architecture and ornaments reflect late Roman but incorporates specifically Jewish  Torah niches - Paintings and mosaics often decorated walls and floors Early Christianity th - Jesus born some time between 8-4 C BCE, crucified at age 33 o He was Jewish - Belief that one god manifested in 3 persons: o Trinity of Creator-Father (God) o Son (Jesus Christ) o Holy Spirit - 12 apostles carried on his work after his death - Constantine permitted freedom of religion in 313 - 4 C: Christianity becomes official religion of empire - Christ preached simple religion of poverty: life everlasting - Used to meet in private home before recognition - In catacombs: Good Sheppard depicted in simple art form - Constantine had vision of cross/angel before his battle and became sympathetic to the religion - More people attracted to the cult and more money to builders to build grand churches/shrines - Constantine ordered monumental basilica of where St. Peter believed to be buried o St. Peter: leader of apostles; Christ’s right-hand man, precursor of popes - Old St. Peter’s replaced during the Renaissance and became pope’s church (Vatican) o  Signify his authority over all Christendom OLD ST. PETER’S BASILICA (320-333) - Secular admin building instead of looking to ancient Greek/Roman temples (due to pagan association) - Longitudinal plan o Atrium  nave & 2 double aisles  apse w/ transept  Transept allowed pilgrims to be closer to St. Peter - Event today, many churches are basilican - Was splendidly and luxuriously decorated - Constantine turns religion of poverty into majestic/luxurious recognized one th - Remained largest Christian church until 11 C RAVENNA MAUSOLEUM - Decorated much like Old St. Peter’s (luxuriously) - Note that Christianity adopts imagery of Roman empire MOSAIC OF GOOD SHEPPARD at Galla Placidia, Ravenna - Very unlike catacomb depiction o Wears imperial robs and has halo - By this time, debate over essence of Christ: divine or human? nd 2 style of building: Centralized buildings (round/polygonal) - Altar at the centre, ambulatory surrounds - CHURCH OF COSTANZA (daughter of Constantinople) o When Constantinople emerged as capital of Roman Empire Early Byzantine Art (476-726) - 476: WRE fell to Ostrogoths; ERE flourished - Byzantine political power, wealth, culture peaked in 6 C under Justinian I o Reconquered Italy, Sicily, established Ravenna as capital (Italian peninsula) - Justinian picked up where Constantine left off CHURCH OF HAGIA SOPHIA (523-537) in Constantinople - Embodies both imperial power and Christian glory - Hybrid of longitudinal and central planning - Flanking conches (semi-domes) connect narthex and apse - Four pendentives (triangular curving wall sections) o Allow raised/circular base - One of the boldest architectural experiments in history - Ottoman Turks added 4 towers (see Ch. 8 Ottoman Empire) - Dome much thinner, lighter, has floating/levitating feel - Later turned into a mosque (thus, writing on the walls) o But once covered in expensive mosaics - Reference to Parthenon: Justinian wanted to rival it; “better” it CHURCH OF SAN VITALE (520-548) in Ravenna - San Vitale: Major site for Roman admin o Direct route to Constantinople - Commissioned by Bishop Ecclesius - 547: martyrium for Early Christian martyr - Dome-covered octagon surrounded by eight radiating exedrae (semi-circular niches)  complex, interpenetrating interior space - Marble veneer and coloured glass and gold mosaics - Ravenna preserved because it was sufficiently outside of Iconoclasm boarders JUSTINIAN AND HIS ATTENDANTS in Church of San Vitale THEODORA AND HER ATTENDANTS - Justinian holds paten—plate used to hold Eucharistic bread - Theodora holds chalice for Eucharistic wine - Emulate Bishop Ecclesius and Magi (story of gifts on Theodora’s robe) - Flat and 3D; abstract and representational - Signify their omnipresent existence and power/rule Illuminated Manuscripts - Usually made for imperial patrons - Conventionally combines multiple events into one page - Lifelike poses and rounded full-bodied figures conform to conventions of Roman painting Icons and Iconoclasm (726-843) - Byzantine: icons accepted as aid to prayer VIRGIN CHILD WITH SAINTS AND ANGELS (6 C) Mt. Sinai, Egypt - Christ and virgin lifelike but Theodore and George have tense faces frozen in frontal stares 726: emperors ordered destruction of religious imagery  iconoclasm - Church and monasteries growing influence and economic power (equivalent to empire) + weakening Byzantine empire - Prohibition of imagery  removing power from monasteries (producer) - 843: triumph of iconophiles - Note that iconoclasm not restricted to Byzantine history th o Protestant reformers of 16 C Europe o 2001: Taliban rulers of Afghanistan dynamited 6 C Buddha statues - CRUCIFIXION AND ICONOCLASTS (mid 9 C): links iconoclasts with those that crucified Christ Middle Byzantine Art - Christian crusaders from West occupied Constantinople in 1204 - 1054 schism divided Christianity into two: o Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe o Eastern Orthodox Church in Byzantine centered in Constantinople - Little mid-B art survives - MONASTRY OF HOSIOS LOUKAS (early 11 C) th - Venice: link be
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