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Medieval Era in the Arts

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Chiristian Themes. Cathedral Architecture

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Medieval Era in the Arts

  1. 1. Medieval Era in the Arts, Sculpture, and Architecture Themes of Christianity
  2. 2. Christianity: The Root of All Medieval Art <ul><li>For three centuries Christianity was in the shadows of Rome </li></ul><ul><li>This triptych of St George records his persecution after slaying the dragon, which represented Satan </li></ul><ul><li>St. George is one of the first martyrs of Christendom </li></ul>
  3. 3. Christianity: Locus of Roman Power <ul><li>Constantine rendered Christianity the state religion in 313 CE </li></ul><ul><li>Under Constantine, the cross became the official symbol of Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>A vision of the cross while in battle induced him to adopt this symbol </li></ul><ul><li>He won the battle over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in Rome </li></ul><ul><li>It came to be preferred over the dove and the fish, both Christian symbols </li></ul>
  4. 4. Christianity and the Scriptures <ul><li>New Testament is divided into three sections with one subdivision </li></ul><ul><li>Gospels (Good News) : the life of Jesus according to St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John </li></ul><ul><li>Acts: The spread of Christianity by the 12 Apostles who taught the Gospels </li></ul><ul><li>Epistles, mostly of St. Paul, whose letters entail the interpretation of Christian doctrine </li></ul><ul><li>Apocalypse: the end of the earth, the return of Christ to preside over Judgment Day, and the formation of the New Heaven and New Earth </li></ul>
  5. 5. Depicted Scenes: Birth and Childhood of Jesus <ul><li>The Nativity: Mary is reclining and Jesus is swaddled in the manger with an ox and ass; Joseph is dosing off </li></ul><ul><li>Adoration of the Magi: three kings from the East bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation of the baby Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem </li></ul><ul><li>Murder of the Innocents: King Herod orders the killings of all firstborn male infants under two years. </li></ul><ul><li>Flight to Egypt of the Holy Family </li></ul><ul><li>At 12 years, Jesus debates the Jewish scholars in the Temple </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Ministry and Miracles of Jesus <ul><li>John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus recruits (“calls”) his apostles in several scenes, such as Matthew, the tax collector, and two fishermen, Peter and Andrew </li></ul><ul><li>Miracles, such as converting water into wine for a bridal couple, the Transfiguration of Peter, James, and John </li></ul><ul><li>In a storm, walks on water; saves fishermen from drowning and calms the storm </li></ul><ul><li>In Resurrection, he raises Lazarus, brother of Mary, from the dead </li></ul>
  7. 7. Passion of Jesus: Palm Sunday <ul><li>Jesus arrives in Jerusalem on a donkey, followed by the Apostles. </li></ul><ul><li>Throws the moneychangers out of the temple </li></ul><ul><li>Last Supper: announces that one apostle (Judas) will betray Him and another (Peter) will deny Him </li></ul><ul><li>Washes the feet of the Apostles to display humility </li></ul><ul><li>In the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas points out Jesus with a kiss, and the Roman soldier seize him </li></ul><ul><li>When confronted by the Romans, Peter denies knowing Jesus three times </li></ul>
  8. 8. Passion of Jesus: Trial and Condemnation <ul><li>Brought before Caiaphas and Pilate </li></ul><ul><li>Whipped (the Flagellation) </li></ul><ul><li>Crowned with thorns (the Mocking of Jesus) </li></ul><ul><li>Mocked for claiming to be King of the Jews </li></ul><ul><li>Condemned to die on the cross, a common Roman technique of execution </li></ul><ul><li>“ Washing his hands,” Pilate turns Jesus over the Jews (even though it’s the Romans who nail him to the cross. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Passion of Jesus: The Crucifixion <ul><li>Jesus carries his own cross to Calvary (aka Golgotha) </li></ul><ul><li>There he is nailed at the cross in the presence of Mary </li></ul><ul><li>He is taken down from the cross and his followers mourn him (Lamentation) </li></ul><ul><li>Pieta: Mary mourning the dead Jesus lying across her lap </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Resurrection <ul><li>Entombment: Jesus is laid inside a cave and a boulder rolled against the entrance </li></ul><ul><li>Enters part of Hell (Limbo) and leads certain souls to salvation </li></ul><ul><li>Rises from his tomb after three days, the Resurrection </li></ul><ul><li>Mary Magdalene tries to touch him but he refuses to be touched </li></ul><ul><li>Shares meal with two apostles (Supper at Emmaus) </li></ul><ul><li>Ascension: Rises to heaven in presence of his mother and the apostles </li></ul><ul><li>Pentecost: gives the apostles the gift of tongues, enabling them to preach the message throughout the world. </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Annunciation and Nativity <ul><li>The Archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the Saviour </li></ul><ul><li>Upper Left: The Annunciation by A. Lorzetti </li></ul><ul><li>Lower Left: The Nativity </li></ul><ul><li>In other scenes, the Christ child is depicted with the ox and ass </li></ul><ul><li>Joseph is often depicting napping in the background </li></ul>
  12. 12. Flight to Egypt and Jesus among the Elders <ul><li>Flight to Egypt after Herod ordered the killing of male infants </li></ul><ul><li>Upper Left: a Giselbertus relief of the flight in typical Romanesque style </li></ul><ul><li>Lower Left: Jesus Among the Doctors by Giotto </li></ul><ul><li>He debates with the elders </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Ministry of Jesus <ul><li>Jesus recruits the Apostles Peter and Andrew to be “fishers of men” </li></ul><ul><li>Upper Left: Jesus walking on water during a storm </li></ul><ul><li>Lowe left: Raising of Lazarus from the dead. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Last Days of Jesus <ul><li>Upper Left: Last Supper; Fresco by unknown artist </li></ul><ul><li>Site: 12 th century church in France </li></ul><ul><li>Lower Left: Crucifixion scene </li></ul><ul><li>Artist Gorelston Psalter (ca 1320-1330), Norwich, East Anglia, England, </li></ul>
  15. 15. From Resurrection to Apocalypse <ul><li>The Resurrection (upper left) </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Piero Della Francesca, 1452 </li></ul><ul><li>The apocalypse from Giselbertus in Romanesque cathedral (lower left) </li></ul><ul><li>Note that the saved are at Christ’s right, and the damned to his left </li></ul>
  16. 16. Roman Basilica Design: Floor Plan <ul><li>Note the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Nave is located in the center </li></ul><ul><li>No transept </li></ul><ul><li>Only one nave (upper projection) </li></ul><ul><li>Aisles on either side </li></ul><ul><li>Entrance on either side </li></ul>
  17. 17. Roman Basilica Design: Interior <ul><li>Note the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Collonnated hall (columns separating nave from aisles) </li></ul><ul><li>Second story aisles </li></ul><ul><li>Entrance at far end </li></ul><ul><li>(Apse is back of this image) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Romanesque Prototype: St. Peter’s Basilica <ul><li>Note the following changes: </li></ul><ul><li>A transept has been added to render structure the form of a cross </li></ul><ul><li>There is only one apse (upper) </li></ul><ul><li>An alter is added to the front of the apse </li></ul><ul><li>The aisle and nave are retained </li></ul><ul><li>Seating is added to the nave </li></ul>
  19. 19. Medieval Architecture: Romanesque Church <ul><li>Size of nave enlarged to accommodate pilgrims, commonplace in Early Middle Ages </li></ul><ul><li>Eastern part of the church enlarged for chapels where small parties could worship undisturbed </li></ul><ul><li>Salient features: rounded arches, thick walls, large towers, and decorative arcading </li></ul><ul><li>Most of them were abbey churches </li></ul><ul><li>They generally dominated the countryside </li></ul>
  20. 20. Romanesque Cathedrals: Size <ul><li>Romanesque cathedrals tended to be small </li></ul><ul><li>Often, they were placed in rural localities </li></ul><ul><li>This was ideal for pilgrims who needed a place to stay and worship </li></ul><ul><li>They were also ideal for monks, who needed to meditate, conduct their work, and grow food for themselves and any visitors </li></ul><ul><li>Note the absence of windows at Leuchars Church, Scotland (left) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Romanesque Design From Hell <ul><li>These sculptures by Giselbertus add to the dark images of the Judgment at the Cathedral of St. Lazarus, Autun, France </li></ul><ul><li>Upper left: Pilgrims trudge toward Santiago </li></ul><ul><li>Lower left: Old Moneybags gets his comeuppance from these disembodied claws </li></ul><ul><li>The small windows (or none at all) added to the gloom of this Cathedral and its themes of the Judgment, damnation, and death </li></ul>
  22. 22. Chartres Cathedral <ul><li>A classic Gothic cathedral is this one at Chartres, France </li></ul><ul><li>The cathedral is 200 feet high; cathedrals competed for height until the one at Amiens collapsed at 298 feet </li></ul><ul><li>The cathedral was the social center for every city </li></ul>
  23. 23. Medieval Architecture: Gothic Cathedrals <ul><li>They were abstract, symbolic, and expressive linearity </li></ul><ul><li>Colorful and highly decorative </li></ul><ul><li>The rounded arch was replaced by the pointed arch (upper left, Riems Cathedral, France) </li></ul><ul><li>The ribbed vault appears at the ceiling of the church (lower left; San Zanipolo, Venice) </li></ul><ul><li>The flying buttress transfers the weight of the vault to a buttress outside the building </li></ul><ul><li>They involved the extensive use of stained glass windows </li></ul>
  24. 24. Why Flying Buttresses? <ul><li>Gothic cathedrals were tall and therefore heavier </li></ul><ul><li>Often, earlier Gothic cathedrals collapsed on their own weight </li></ul><ul><li>The buttresses transferred the heavier weight of the arches or vaults to outside structures such as posts (see diagram) </li></ul>
  25. 25. Flying Buttress at Chartres Cathedral <ul><li>This flying buttress, at Chartres Cathedral, was a prototype </li></ul><ul><li>Note that the weight was transferred through the diagonal structures to the post on the left </li></ul><ul><li>They could be decorative as well as functional </li></ul>
  26. 26. Height of Gothic Interior <ul><li>The height of the walls was enabled by the flying buttress outside </li></ul><ul><li>This produced an awe-inspiring sight. </li></ul><ul><li>Light from the inside and the stained glass windows contributed to this environment </li></ul>
  27. 27. Lighting, Gothic Cathedrals <ul><li>Lighting was another feature of Gothic churches </li></ul><ul><li>As this interior of Notre Dame cathedral shows, lighting induced a divine presence </li></ul><ul><li>This was a vivid contrast with the dark, windowless interior of Romanesque cathedrals and churches </li></ul>
  28. 28. Lighting and Stained Glass Windows <ul><li>As this row of windows show in Milan, biblical scenes came to life. </li></ul><ul><li>They produced a feeling of the presence of God Himself </li></ul>
  29. 29. Conclusion <ul><li>Artwork was thematic of the Scriptures and Life of Christ </li></ul><ul><li>Your book and the samples illustrate these themes, which continued into the early Renaissance </li></ul><ul><li>The cathedrals had a function </li></ul><ul><li>Romanesque accommodated the pilgrims from France to Santiago in Spain </li></ul><ul><li>They also became the residences of monks, starting with the Benedictine order </li></ul><ul><li>Gothic cathedrals became the centers of city activity, as reflected in their height and lighting. </li></ul>

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