Monday, 16 May 2011

Potential essay questions

Yes, another return to accademia. To those who have long ago stopped reading and who are returning for a glimpse, or if you are on the brink of leaving, please, stop! Exams finish 20/5/11, so from then I will be back to reviewing, rambling, talking about languages, travels, showing you photos of things from my personal world.

For now, I want to discuss and consider potential themes for essay topics, not including those which have already been integral to essay questions. I'm also ditching Chinese art and Baroque, not for the key image study, but instead for the in depth lecture learning. Chinese, not because I don't find the work beautiful but because I thought the lectures were disorganised and I feel I too much lack the background to study it, including aspects of Chinese philosophy, religion, ideology. Baroque because, with some exceptions, I find it not to my taste. Thus I will be studying in depth Early Christian, Islamic, Netherlandish and Italian renaissance.

Potential themes.

Semester 1.

Early Christian

The development of the artist

Nicola Pisano. Classical virtues in Pisa baptisery, inscription tells us artist appreciated himself as a highly skillful artist.

Giovanni Pisano. Son of Nicola Pisano. Also inscribed works refers to himself as the best artist that had ever been, that would ever be.

Also signs of artist recognition-Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

Renewed Interest in antiquity, triumpth of the old over the new, bringing forth a new cultural identity whilst preserving the past, continuity. Also other themes including church authority.

5th century Jerome, interest in restoring antiquity.

-Increase of pagan elite, converting to christianity. Church gains more riches and capital.
-Casa dei Crescenzi, by Nicola Crescenzi. Spolia, for house.
-313-edict of Constantine. Tolerance toward christianity throughout empire.
-Major church building phase, Constantine builds St John the lateran, the basilica of Constantine, old st Peters. 4th century. Spolia used in buildings.
-Arch of Constantine-models himself upon better considered emperors Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius and Trajan. Use of spolia, continuity and yet triumpth of Christianity over past.
-figural representatives and Christ and related figures appear e.g. Mosaic of Santa Pudenziana late 4th century (site of previous 2nd century house of Pius), sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (baptised on death bed, Roman elite who died Christian-relief suggests triumph of christianity over paganism, christ being held up by Caelus, god of the heavens).
-Late 4th century, Paganism banned. Conversion forced, cryptopagans existance likely. Christianity made official religion
-Under Theodosius, christianity made state religion, last ruler to rule over eastern and western halves of empire.
-6th century Goth raids in Rome, emperors instead in Ravenna and Constantinople. To Christians-sign of sins and too much tolerance of paganism.
-incoporated pagan symbols, void of meaning.
-6th century Justinian, byzantine Ravenna-Maximian added Justinian panels, empress theodora opposite.
-Sant'Appolinare-Theodoric 6th century Ravenna.
-darker hughs, more solemn time? Repenting for sins of the past. Pope became a more prominant figure, sign of hope and redemption. Santa Cosma e damiano, Pope Felix IV. Donated portion of temple of peace and library to Pope. Depicted as a favour.
-Parousia, common and popular theme, repeated centuries later 9th century Santa Prassede also in Rome. Now Pope has a square halo, connecting him to earth=mediator. Representing the people. Pope Paschal I.
-Common theme, also same composition at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. Both these 9th century mosaics use Spolia, as told to use by Titelus.
-Portunus temple 9th century and pantheon (now st Mary and martyrs, previously Julius Caesar) 7th century-rededication.
-pagan elements still used, though lifelike depiction replaced with need to evoke the immaterial. Flat images, encrusted with jewels, evoking bible to the illiterate. Other worldly.

Theodoric king of the Ostrogoths-pillaged spolia from Rome, took it to Ravenna. Sant'apollinare.

Charlemagne 8th-9th century -Carolingian king, King of the franks. Augustine coin. Bronze statuette, similar to 2nd century Marcus Aurelius statue. Globe, world domination. Given pallium, depicted with it in lateran by Pope Leo III. 800, declared holy Roman emperor. Pillaged spolia from Ravenna and from for his palace chapel at Aachen. Lorsch abbey, capitals similar to those in time of Septimus severus, 3rd century. Aachen, bronze door, door knob reminiscent of bronze Etruscan she wolf. Main shape of dome based on San Vitale.
Period also known as the carolingian renaissance.
-Einhard-biographer of Charlemagne, also artist. Base of a cross, triumphal arch sketch but replacing idea of emperor with ideology of christian empire.
-major period of translation of old texts
-Same aspirations. Testiment to greatness of roman empire, that so many intellectuals during the middle ages wanted to emulate it.

11th century so called lothar cross of emperor Otto 3rd
Spolia, cameo of Augustus (with eagle) and intralgio of Lothar.
-eagle and augustus retranslated to mean christ. Amathysts, emeraulds, saphires, spolia from previous empires. Succession of a whole over componant parts. Cross, as described by Constantine. Jewell encrusted.
-at aachen

12th century Casa dei Cascenze
Spolia, house in Rome built near ruins.

12th century
eagle vase of abbot Suger of st Denis.
-Porphyry amphora from ancient Egypt or Rome.
-wings, head and claws of an eagle added-gold-revelations-celestial city built of gold and jewels. Evokes Christ.
-Purple or porphyry used to be considered an imperial colour to Romans.
-Now blood of Christ?
-Eagle-empire, set free during apotheosis of a well considered emperor.
-Now eagle=Christ-thus Christian empire.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti-13th century.
Allegory of a good government.
Civic scene, fresco, classifying images and drapery.
-roman civic position-again testiment to continuity, civilisation based upon Ancient Rome.
-Christianised, angels.
-promising securitas, this is what you'll get if you're faithful and good citizens.
Frescos popular in Siena.

Nicola Pisano
baptisery, Piso pulpit.
Clasical virtues. Marriage of gothic and classical. International gothic arches, classifying image of fortitude. Inspired Michelangelo's David, Bacchus in 16th century.
-inscribed work, appreciation of skill.
-his son giovanni also inscribed a work 'highly skillful' no mention to artistic creativity or personality.

Frederick II-Coin in style of Augustus, Cappuan gates, statue of self, likeness to 1st century statues of Jupiter. Busts-immortality. Castel del monte-classical and contemporary influences-sought eastern influence. 13 century king of sicily, crowned as holy Roman emperor.

Next to plan...


Artist as an individual

Increasing naturalism-the importance of sight

Albrecht Durer

The Ghent Alterpiece

Patronage, courtly, private, personal.

Symbolism, attributes, personification

Society, heraldry, women in society, position of artist and patron in society.

Identifying artists.


A case study on Michelangelo or Leonardo. Cult of personality, fame.


Again, women's position in society. Not likely though as there was an essay based on society.

The human body, ignudi, images evoking spirituality such as Giovanni Busi's a portrait of a woman in the guise of st agatha 16th century. venus-venus or urbino and birth of venus, and a need to enforce social ideal that women should be obedient and chaste.

Christianity VS classics... what was acceptable? what was considered too much? Nudity, in a classical and then in a domestic context.

Material culture...

This section is too ecclectic too really define a subject for the exam. Hmpth.


Multicultural influences



Islam disapproves of human or animal representation in a religious context. Qur'ans are never illustrated; the ultimate artistic expression is to be found in sacred calligraphy and illumination, such as in the magnificent 'carpet pages' of the royal Qur'ans.

However, the image of the Prophet's ascension to heaven is often depicted in religious Islamic painting, particularly in Persian manuscripts. It is also often found in secular literature, as in this manuscript of the poems of the celebrated Persian poet Nizami.

According to tradition, the face of the Prophet Muhammad has been whitened out.

No comments:

Post a Comment