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One Week of Notes for Medieval Art History

by: Aubree Broyles

One Week of Notes for Medieval Art History 483

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Aubree Broyles
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One Week of Notes for Medieval Art History
Medieval Art History
Erica Bittel
Class Notes
One Week of Notes for Medieval Art History FHSU
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This 14 page Class Notes was uploaded by Aubree Broyles on Friday February 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 483 at Fort Hays State University taught by Erica Bittel in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see Medieval Art History in Art at Fort Hays State University.


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Date Created: 02/19/16
Medieval Art History Spring 2016 Test 1 Notes Introduction to Medieval Art The Medieval Period and The Middle Ages  The Middle Ages was a period of about one thousand years o Viewed by Renaissance scholars as a sort of interlude or period of decline o The period occurred after the times of Classical Greece and Rome and before the revival of learning which emerged during the Renaissance  This period has also been referred to as the “Dark Ages”  The Medieval period began in the 4 century with the battle of the Milvian Bridge o Roman Emperor Constantine o The Christian monogram, the Chi Rho – on their shields th  The Medieval period ended in the 15 century with the discovery of the Americas by Portuguese navigators o Sailed the water with the Cross of the Order of the Knights of Christ  Chi Rho = Cross of the Order of the Knights of Christ = The Early Christian Church and the Bible  Followers of Christianity declared Jesus’ birth to be the beginning of a new era o Known as Anno Domini or AD o Today we refer to the time after Jesus’ birth as the Common Era or CE  The Jewish scriptures form the foundation of what Christians call the Old Testament  The central tenets of Christianity are contained within the New Testament o Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John o Epistles - St. Paul’s letters to the newly-formed Christian communities o Acts of the Apostles - documents the establishment of Christianity as an organized religion o Book of Revelation - St. John’s description of the Apocalypse  Vulgate = Latin edition of the Bible translated by Saint Jerome  Early forms of Christian worship were very simple  Jesus gathered with his apostles for the Jewish Feast of the Passover o When Jesus defined the bread and wine as his own body and blood, he established the sacrament of Holy Communion o Tituli = official Christian homes where members of the faith reenacted the Last Supper  There were about 25 official homes in Rome where this happened – turned into a ritual after – this is how communion got started  A more elaborate worship service evolved in the 4 century o The service was divided into 2 parts:  Liturgy of the Word  Open to the public  Liturgy of the Eucharist  Open only to initiates  Transubstantiation – when the bread and wine miraculously become the flesh and blood of Christ  Another important ritual in the early Catholic Church was the initiation ceremony of baptism o Like other Church rituals, it evolved into an elaborate, formal ceremony presided over by the head of the Christian community, the bishop o In baptism, the initiates symbolically “died” and were reborn in Christ  Christians utilize two different types of time: Historical and Liturgical o The Western Christian liturgical year is based on Christmas (December 25 ) th o The Eastern Christian Orthodox liturgical year is based on Easter o Events in the Gospels are typically grouped into 3 “cycles:”  The Marian (or Nativity) cycle – (Christmas events)  The Public Ministry of Cycle – (the miracles Jesus performed)  The Passion Cycle – (The death of Jesus)  In the Early years of Christianity, rival religions influenced the development of the Christian faith o Religious cults incorporated music, incense, and sacred imagery into their rituals o Christians adopted many of these elements into the Mass to enhance the emotional power and immediacy of their worship, as well  By the 3 Century, monotheistic cults and religions such as Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, and Sol Invictus (meaning triumphant sun), spread throughout the empire  The influence of such monotheistic faiths on Christianity is evident in the following: o The designation of Sunday as the Christian sacred day o The use of December 25 to celebrate the birth of Christ  Christianity became a major religion within the Roman Empire, and as a result, it needed an organized governing structure and a coherent philosophy o The church adopted the Roman imperial model – Provincial governments overseen by centralized rule – also had a tithe o And in an effort to appeal to the educated classes, Christians turned to Greek philosophy  St. Augustine - West  St. Gregory of Nazianzus - East  The “Universal Soul” = believed that the soul could be in Earthly and spiritual realms  Arch of Titus, ca. 81 CE, concrete and white marble, Rome Italy o  Spoils from the Temple of Jerusalem, relief in the passageway of the Arch of Titus, ca. 81 CE, marble o  Hadrian/Constantine Hunting Boar and Sacrificing to Apollo Constantine Addressing the Roman People in the Roman Forum from the Arch of Constantine, ca. 130-138 CE, marble, Rome o o Tondi = Circular composition Classical vs. Medieval Art  Greek artists observed nature and then attempted to create idealized representations  Roman artists worked in a more realistic or naturalistic style  Medieval art is characterized by a sense of expressionism and abstraction that is not necessarily related to visual appearances Christianity in the Roman Empire  Emperor Septimius Severus was the first to officially acknowledge Christianity o Christians allowed to practice, but not the convert others  Under Gallienus, Christianity became a “permitted religion”  Diocletian required citizens to make sacrifices only to Jupiter, the Roman gods, and the deified emperors o Monotheistic Christians and Jew were imprisoned and often executed as martyrs for their faith  Emperor Diocletian completely reorganized the governing structure of the vast Roman Empire o Devised a form of government called a tetrarchy or “rule of four” o Required that each Augustus, one from the East and one from the West, designate a subordinate and heir, both holding the title of Caesar o Eventually Constantine (a “Caesar” in the tetrarchy) gained control of both the western and the eastern parts of the Empire o Roman Empire  West  Augustus Maximian Caesar  East  Augustus Diocletian Caesar  Constantine the Great from the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, 325-326 CE, marble, Rome o  Arch of Constantine, 312-315 CE, Rome o o The style is changing in this time period – He is saying this is the art of the people – he is looking out at his people o Constantine absorbed power of past rulers by taking elements from other monuments and carving his own face on it – equating his reign with reigns of past emperors  Hierarchic Scale ----- relative size = relative importance  Christianity Under Constantine o In the year 313, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan  Archetype of religious toleration  It allowed Christians as well as the followers of other religious faiths, to practice whatever form of worship they chose  Christianity Under Theodosius o The Pax Romana (Roman Peace) that existed under Constantine, dissipated upon his death  When Theodosius became emperor in 379 CE, steps were once again taken to re-stabilize the Roman Empire  Theodosius was determined to unify his subjects through religion  Established Christianity as the sole religion of the empire  Official art continues to represent the emperor in a god-like superhuman manner  Missorium of Theodosius, 388 CE, Found in Estremadura, Spain o o We know he is important because he is the biggest, centered, and has a double halo (one glow around his head and the rounded arch above his head) o This is secular (not religions)  Christianity Under Theodosius o Theodosius also established the Roman capital at Constantinople o At the same time, the city of Rome was experiencing political and economic decline  Remained the administrative center of the Western Church  To counter outside threats, the government in the West relocated from Rome to Milan  Under the direction of the bishop, St. Ambrose  And the capital later moved to Ravenna  In the year 410 CE, Rome fell to the Gothic invaders Chapter 2 The Early Christian Period Jewish and Christian Art Before Constantine  Both Christians and Jews separated themselves from the official Roman religious practices of the period – most notably, the worship of images of multiple gods  As a result, the study of early Jewish and Christian art is dependent, for the most part, on funerary art  Paintings and some sculpture have been found in underground cemeteries known as catacombs o Loculi = niches carved into the walls of the catacombs o Cubicula = small chambers used for funerary rituals  Catacomb of Priscilla, 3 century, Rome o rd  Cubiculum of the Veiled Lady, Catacomb of Priscilla (reproduction of ceiling). 3 century, Rome o “The Good Shepard” is in the middle  Teacher and Pupils, Orant, and Woman and Child, Cubiculum of the veiled Lady, Catacomb of Priscilla, 3 century, wall painting in a lunette, Rome o  The Good Shepard, Cubiculum of the veiled lady, Catacomb of Priscilla, 3 century, wall painting, Rome o rd  Jonah is Vomited Out, Cubiculum of the Veiled Lady, Catacomb Priscilla, 3 century, wall painting in a lunette, Rome o  The Sacrifice of Isaac, Cubiculum of the veiled lady, Catacomb of Priscilla, 3 rd century, wall painting, Rome o Jewish and Christian Art Before Constantine  Palm leaf = victory  Dove = the holy spirit  Anchor = hope  The cross was typically disguised as the mast of Jonah’s ship, an anchor, or as the Egyptian Ankh  The fish was a symbol of Christ o The disciples as “fishers of men” o Baptism  The Story of Jonah, 3 century, marble o rd  Christ/Helios Mausoleum of the Julii, 3 century, mosaic, Vatican o - Vines are symbolic of Christ’s blood  Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, ca. 359, marble, Vatican o o This is significant because many people in this time couldn’t read, they used things like this to understand the stories in the bible o The carvers were concerned with 2 major themes:  1. The guarantee of salvation  2. The triumph of the Roman Christian church o Detail of Christ enthroned   Traditio Legis = handing down the law  This is the youthful version of enthroned Christ  He is resting his feet on Caelus (personification of the heavens) – he is the ruler of heaven o Caelus also appears on the chest plate of Augustus of Primaporta  - Top Center o Iconographer  Taking symbols in the carvings and making them function within the scene  A master sculpture familiar with traditional religious imagery Early Christian Architecture  The symbolic nature of Christianity demanded that the Church signify both the house of God and the tomb of Christ o Needed to be able to accommodate the entire Christian community o Architects rejected Roman temples an focused instead on the civil basilica and the tomb for inspiration  Roman secular basilicas were large, rectangular structure that served as places for public gathering o At its most basic, a basilica was a simple hall with a trussed timber roof o Could be extended by colonnades and aisles as well as a clerestory  Colonnade = A repetition of columns  Clerestory = “Clear story” – part of the basilica that is pierced with windows o The basilica also had one for more semicircular apses projecting beyond the walls  Apse = Semicircular space that would hold the clergy and the alter  For Church architecture, Christians adapted the basilica form the suit their own purposes o At the end of the hall, an apse housed the clergy and the altar o The hall served the congregation o The entrance was placed opposite the apse, drawing the eye toward the altar o The longitudinal orientation also provided space for religious processions  Churches were located outside the Rome’s city walls, and placed near the shrines of Christian martyrs o Often constructed on imperial property o The emperor likely wanted to avoid offending the pagan Romans who still held a great deal of political and economic power  Church of Santa Sabina, 422-432, Rome o  Triforium = blank space between the colonnade and the clerestory, covered the space formed by the sloping roofs over the aisles o Made the interior space more aesthetically pleasing  Triumphal arch = where the nave wall meets the apse – signifies the triumph of Christ that takes place symbolically at the altar during the Eucharist  Baldachino/ciborium = canopy over the altar  Church of St. John Lateran, ca. 312-318, Rome o o Constantine’s first imperial Christian building Early Christian Architecture  Christian ritual also came to include the saints and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the Christian faith o Relics – the venerated remains of saints or objects associated with saints o Martyria – shrines dedicated to martyrs  Plan of Church of Santa Costanza, ca. 350 o Ambulatory = allows worshipers to walk around the altar but at the same time, protects the relics – ‘U’ shaped aisles that go around the altar o o Vintaging Putti from the Church of Santa Costanza, ca. 350, mosaic, Rome  o Christian Symbolism  Swan = grace and purity  Peacock = afterlife  Lamb = sacrifice  Goose = holy spirit o Sarcophagus of Constantina from the Church of Santa Costanza, ca. 250, porphyry  (Could be Constantina or might be her sister) Old St. Peter’s Basilica o Trophy of Gaius – shrine commemorating St. Peter’s victory as a martyr o  Cross section of old St. Peter’s basilica o Restored in the 16 century o St. Peter was martyred at Nero’s Cirths – several other martyrs died there o Plan of Old St. Peter’s Basilica, 4 century, Vatican City, Italy   Narthex = porch o Transept = a large hallway – wider and taller than the nave – forms a t- shaped cross with the nave – added to accommodate pilgrims The Roman Empire in the 5  Century  Western Roman Empire o Rome as the spiritual capital of the West o Unified under the Pope o The administrative and commercial capital of the Western Empire moved a number of times over the next century (Rome, Milan, Ravenna) o Threatened by foreign invaders  Eastern Roman Empire o Ruled from Constantinople o Politically peaceful, stable, and prosperous o However, the Eastern Church faced a number of religious heresies and wars  The Crucifixion and the Suicide of Judas, 420-430, from Rome or southern Gaul, ivory o o Using icons and imagery from ancient antiquity and incorporating it into Christianity – helps to convert people to Christianity and makes things easier to understand o His sacrifice was triumphant  Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, 432-440, Rome o 1 of 80 churches in Rome dedicated to Mary  Rebellion Against Moses from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, 432-440, Mosaic, Rome o - The bubble is the “glory of the lord” – Moses is protecting them  Images from the Triumphal Arch o Infancy of Christ from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, 432-440, Mosaic, Rome   Top most scene is the Annunciation – this is when an angel comes to Mary and tells her she is pregnant with the son of god  Mary is always portrayed wearing gold  The figures are very tall for the canvas --- they are tall so they can be seem from the ground – these pieces are very high up  There are gestures to tell what is going on in each scene, but they don’t have any expressions on their faces  The artwork around the triumphal arch are showing that Christ as a child is holy – he has a halo around his head – but Mary and Joseph are not o Coronation of the Virgin from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, 432-440  Theotokos - Mary as the mother of god – she is enthroned next to her son  This is a very controversial thing – some people believe that Mary is not that holy   Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (exterior view), ca. 425, Ravenna, Italy o o According to tradition this building was built to house a tomb o Empress Galla Placidia was a very powerful ruler  However, she probably isn’t buried here o This tomb was built as an oratory (and also a Mausoleum)  Oratory = a small chapel used for private worship o The outside is pretty plain and boring but the inside is very interesting o  Vault mosaic o Each of the 4 writers of the bible is associated with a “beast” or animal – 1 in each of the 4 corners  Matthew = human figure / angel  Mark = lion  Luke = Ox  John = Eagle o Lunette Mosaic (The Good Shepard) from the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia  - Christ is depicted as the good shepherd  St. Lawrence  Cabinet with the 4 texts – believed that this is St. Lawrence th th  Baptistery of the Orthodox, late 4 century, remodeled in the mid 5 century, Ravenna, Italy o o o  Depicts the baptism of Christ in the middle – outside are the 12 apostles Early Byzantine Period  In the year 330, Constantine made Byzantium, (renamed Constantinople) the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire o The city flourished with political power, military strength, and economic prosperity – the center of a brilliant civilization th th o The 5 -6 centuries were known as a “Golden Age” o Today we refer to this era and civilization as Byzantine  The Byzantine Empire was certainly a Christian state, but paganism remained influential in the arts o The Christian Church was led by 5 patriarchs who resided in Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, and Rome o Council of Calcedon in 451  Decided that the patriarch of Constantinople was 2 nd in authority, with only the pope in Rome as his superior  Land walls of Constantinople built by Theodosius II 412-413 o  Emperor Justinian I ruled the Eastern Empire from 527-565 o Justinian was known for his extensive territorial expansion and military success, along with a new synthesis of Greco-Roman and Christian culture o Authoritarian approach to government  Nika Riot = a period of civil unrest in 532 that resulted in the burning of several important religious and imperial buildings (Nika means conquer) o Justinian also took a leading role in shaping church policy  As a defender of Christian Orthodoxy, he fought to eliminate Greco- Roman paganism and competing Christian sects o In foreign policy, Justinian sought to recover regions that were lost to foreign invaders  Launched one of the most aggressive military programs in medieval history  Restored Ravenna’s status as a capital in Italy o By Justinian’s death in the year 565 the empire bordered nearly the entire Mediterranean Sea o Foreign policy was paralleled by reforms in state taxation and legislation, and the writing of the Corpus of Civil law, a text now known as the Justinian Code o Justinian’s reign is further characterized by an exceptional record of architectural and artistic patronage and production  Endeavored to remake the ancient capital founded by Constantine the Great 324  Architectural efforts were documented in the treatise “On the Buildings” written by the court historian Procopius  The rebuilding of the Hagia Sophia from 532-537  Anthemius > Isidorus = architects of the Hagia Sophia o The portable arts also flourished during the age of Justinian  Silk production  Introduced to Byzantine lands from China  Icon painting  Church of Hagia Sophia, Gaspare and Guiseppe Fossati, 1851, hand-colored engraving o o  Contemporary interior o Mihrab = tells the Islamic people which direction to pray   Pendentives = the dome of the Hagia Sophia is supported by pendentives – a concave triangular section of masonry – solves the problem of putting a round dome on a square building  Tympanum = interior flat wall  Christ Pantrocrator from the Church of Hagia Sophia, 532-537, Constantinople o  The Virgin with Constantine and Justinian from the Church of Hagia Sophia o  The plan of the Hagia Sophia was never duplicated by Christian architects but it did inspire other plans – The plan of the Church of the St. Mark, Venice is very similar  Church of St. Mark, Venice, Italy o  Church of San Vitale, 548, Ravenna Italy o


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