13th Century Art History Notes
The Thirteenth Century •Early 14th Century and late 16th Century •New kind of collaboration between artists and patrons, religious civic institutions and between the perceived relationship of past to present. •Emphasis on the potential of the human being, power of a liberal classical education to produce a well rounded individual. •Rivalry between Siena and Florence •Guilds associations of workers that set standards of work and prices and protected the rights of workers and their families. Traces of the Classical tradition began to re-appear in Rome in the 12th and 13th century and oClassical Greece artists had striven for idealized but naturalistic three dimentional human for and symmetry Vasari’s Life and the “Framing” of the Renaissance •Mannersit artist and architect Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) constructed the framework for Renaissance art •Biographies of most artists Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects oInfancy, Adolecence and Maturity 14th, 15th and 16th Century oPerfect maturity of the arts embodied by Michelangelo oItalo-centic Saw Byzantine art as negative (emotion) as well as French Gothic style •Cimabue •Marker the end of the byzantine style •Probably from Florence •His style indicates that he had absorbed elements of Classical plasticity and a late medieval tendency to express emotion through surface patterns of rich color and gold leaf as well as through content •Crucifix 1275 oIn showing the dead Christ, Cimabue was in tune with his recent iconographic developments, which departed from the previously prevailing images of living Christ on the Cross oChristus Patiens is the “suffering Christ” Elongated, body composed of a graceful “S” shaped characterized of the Byzantine forms. Stylized pattern of the anatomy oCurvilinear rhythms evident in the gold threading of Christs drapery oRichness of the color by the use of the tempera oFormal geometric unit oItaly crucifixes of this type were often suspended over an altar and related to the liturgy performed there •Enthroned Maddona and Child 1285 oHer role as the Heavenly Queen is a metaphor for the stairway to heaven oChrist is the embodiedment of the miraculous Christian “baby king” childlike in size but adults in his proportions, comportment, and intelligence. Giotto •Crucifix oHe slumps forwards and his arms are stretched thin by the natural pull of gravity oAnatomical structure of his body is organically rendered ( no surface styleation) oGiotto’s naturalism, his attention to the lways of gravity, and the complex layers of meaning mark a major step towards the Renaissance style oViewers identified emotionally and physically •Enthroned Madonna oSpace is more purely cubic, with the throne and figures firmly set on horizontal surfaces. The throne does not rise as that of Cimabue and the angles seem to occupy natural space oBoth the throne and figures are weightly and seem to objey the laws of gravity Development of the Gothic Style in Italy and France and the Ars Nova In Flanders •Sienna produced a large group of painters in the first half of the 14th century •Duccio’s Maesta oLargest altar piece ever created oMade for the high altar piece of siena cathedral oLiterally means “majesty” oUnusually decorated with narrative panels on the back and on the front oLocated bellow the dome of the cathedral •As a result it was visible on all sides Mary’s central role in Sienna is reflected in the iconography of Duccip’s altarpiece. She dominates the front panel, at once the Queen of Heaven and of earth. oGiotto’s counterpart in Florence is Duccio’s in Sienna oDuccio attempts to convey 3D space. oPeople of Sienna viewed Marry as their protector (Sienna won against Florence) oVery similar to the style of Cimbue, in the sense that it was Byzantine, it was playing a tribute to the Sienna style oPolitical significance: Gothic style, produced under the French nobility •Associated with power, chivalry, honor, courtly french honour •They promote her as the queen of Sienna Religious figures are in white •Important figures of early Sienna history are in red •They are the “diplomats” of the queen oEmbodies Sienna’s devotion to the Virgin as the mother of Christ and the partons of their city oHe has interwovern civic and religious messages of the altarpiece. •Entry to Jerusalem oDifferent priorities when depicting narrative oDifferent levels of architect to divide outside / inside city oNo coordination to one point of view •The door, the gate, aerial view Like Cimbue he does not block the faces oThere is no scale, o prespective •Giotto: less is more •Duccio: Draw your eye to detail (gothic) •Denial of Peter oThere is a juxtaposition, Peter is seen as a hero but also he denies that he is knowing him oComplete set up of two levels shows the juxtaposition •Jesus wrong accusation / Peter true accusation •Ambrogio’s Lorenzetti: Allegories of Good and Bad Government oReflecting the new interest in civic humanism oAllegory of a “good” vs “bad” type of governments Effects of a Good government in a republican commune •The city and its country side, and its is enclosed by a protective wall oCity enormous attention to the fabrics, there are shops, education, women dancing, marriage, buildings being built •Specific location of Sienna > bell tower with dome oAttention to the detail of the landscape oBustling trade beteen the city and the country in times of peace, which leads to the economic prosperity that encourages patronage of the arts.
Moving towards France •Naturalism- sensual experience, very rich expensive colors, lots of gold, large emphasis on detail oShowing aspects of luxurious parts of nature •The Limbourg Brothers The Adoration of the Magi and the east of the Epiphany oThey are small portable books for religious devotions oFavoured by the aristrocracy, Jan van Eyck and the Renaissance in the Netherlands •The Netherlands in the 15th century, like Italy, evolved from medieval feudalism into bourgeois mercantile economy.
Commercial and artistic contact between Italy and the North was thriving; Italina courts employed Netherland artists, and the North attracted business from Italy oThere was a cross-cultural interchange •Gothic tradition persisted more in the North, where the use of oil painting lent itself to precision of execution and richness of color oOil dries slowly, it can be reworked and revised, where as fresco and tempera connot •Jan Van Eyck painter of the 1430s worked at the court of Bruges of Philip Good of Burgundy and he absorbed the international style as well as the newer Renaissance developments. Madona with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin oFor the church of Notre Dame in Autum shows his taste for detail and texture with which he celebrates both the heavenly and the earth world. oKneels before an open missal, his meditations interrupted by a vision of the Virgin being crowned Queen of Heaven •Angular folds of her dress are Gothic rather than Classical •Linking the two worlds in the background is the bridge, which leads the viewer’s gaze across the picture plane from Christ’s raised hand towards the chancellor. Implication is that piety and prayer are the route to salvation •Arnolfini Portrait oReflect the commercial ties between Italy and the North, was commissioned by a member of the Arnolfin family of Luca oGod’s presence is everywhere indicated by the chandelier, the rosary, light enetering the window, tiny wooden statue of St Margaret, chair back, mirror itself which could symbolize the eye of god. Architecture and Sculpture in Florence : 1400 – 1430 During the 15th Century the Rensaissance was the dominant cultural force in Florence •In 1401 the Opera del Duomo announced a competition for a pair of bronze doors for the bapestry. oSubmitting bronze relief of the sacrifice of Isaac oIn the Genesis, Abraham is instructed by God to sacrifice his son Isaac as proof of his faith oAbraham substitues a ram for Isaac •Although their quatrefoil frames are gothic, they both reflect the emergence of the new Renaissance •Lorenzo Ghilbertu and Filippo Brunelleschi Ghilberti’s is the most elegant, it forms the more restrained and graceful oBrunelleschi’s is the more powerful that the two, his angel forcefully grasps Abraham’s arm as the patriarch is about to plunge his knife on Isaac oThe dynamic force of Brunelleschi’s angel is countered by the strong diagonal of his Abraham pushing Isaac forward oGhilberti’s Isaac, in contrast, is graceful Classical nude, rendering with slight contrapposto gazing into his father’s face oGhilberti plays more attention to rhythmic patters in the rock formations, whereas Brunelleschi like Giotto, focuses intensely on dramatic relationships. Posing of the ram, Ghilberti it is on a rock paitently awaiting its fate, and on Brunelleschi it is beside Isaac, and echoes his twisted and agitated pose. oThe naturalism and Classical form presented in both reliefs place them in the forefront of the new style. •Artists studied ancient statues for content as well as for form is evident in Brunelleschi’s seated figure behind the mule. •Architecture of Brunelleschi •He created a transition in architecture from the Middle ages to the Renaissance oAfter losing the competition, he renounced sculpture and turned his genius to architecture oHe returned to Florence and designed the dome or coupola The Dome oDiamter of nearly 140 feet, the space of the cathedrals octagonal crossing was larger than anything that had been spanned since the construction of the Pantheon in Rome oThe 14th C octagonal dum cathedral precluded a perfectly hemispherical dome •Brunelleschi proposed a solution to eliminate the need for centering the wooden scaffoldings that was normally built from the floor upwards for vaulting large spaces. •Insead the proposed to construct a skeleton of eight large ribs which are cisible on the exterior, each extenddng from one angle of the octagon to the base of the lantern. The material used was brick which was lighter than stone, and the sue of a double shell with a space n between also reduced the weight of the structure. •Chruch of San Lorenzo oHe rejected the roaring verticals of Gothic and brought the experience of space down to a more human scale. oHe was commissioned to replaced a Romanesque church behind the Medici residence •The Church of Santo Spirito oRebuildining the church, showing off his mature style oAs in the Hospital, Brunelleschi based the plan on the harmonious proportions of the square. oThe preference of solid forms and geometric shapres reached a new intensity at Santo Spirito. Or San Michele : The Exterior Niches oIt is a church oThe guild commissioned young artists to make the exterior sculptures: Donatello, Ghilberti and Nanni di Banco oThey are only a few feet above the street and as a result, they seem to communicate with the citizens of Florence. •They reinforce the city’s view of the mediating power of imagery, expressing the religious beliefs and economic and political concerns of Florence. •Donatello Saint George oThe guild of armorer and sord makers commissioned Donatello a marble statue of Saint George oHis firm stance accentuated by the slight twist of his shoulder is reinforced by the shield. The miliarty iconography probably alludes to a combination of factors – the armor produced by the guild, the medieval chivalric tradition, and the determination of Florence to repel hostile forces. •Saint Mark oRelaxed contrapposto pose, similar to that of the marble David, this reflects classical influence oThe drapery is also classical, it folds revealing the anatomy of the figure. oHe is rendered as an introspective thinker, carrying the gosel in a powerful veined hand that emphasized the relationship of the saint to his written text. On the top the image of Christ also has a text as well as a little lion in the bottom. •John the Baptists oWhereas the formal movement of St Mark’s drapery falls narturally according to the laws of gravity, the drapery of Ghilberti’s bronze John the Baptists sweeps upwards in a series of rhythmic curves. oClassically proportioned similar to saint Mark, but Ghilberti’s figure stands in a similar pose, with the left leg providing the support and the right knee bent, but the contrapposto is nearly hidden under the voluminous drapery patterns. Sufrace pattering is repeated in the saint’s hair and beard, as well as hair shirt above the robe •Affinity for elegance. The medium was bronze, which was more expensive than marble, appealed to the image of wealth the guild wished to protect. oDonatello Slaying the Dragon •Marble relief on the base of the niche, Donatello represented the feat that made Saint George famous: killing the dragon to rescue the princess. •Earliest example of Donatello’s revolutionary depiction of space in a relief sculpture. He departed from old age technique of carving relief, in which the surface was plane was flat and forms projected from it in varying degrees . •Varied background surface with forms carved in very shallow reelif in contrast to the deeper relief of the aint spearing the Dragon. •This technique is known as schiacciato “squashed” and creates an impression of distant landscape and of receding arcade at the right. •Gentil Fabriano The adoration of the Magi oDepicts the physical world of surface textures. Engages viewers in the sights and sounds of courtly splendor, particularly in this masterpiece. oComissioned by Palla Strozzi, the wealthiest man in Florence. oThis was the style of European courtes, with their tatstes for elegant materials, exotic Gothic elements, crowded picture planes, and late Gothic interest in detail of nature. oReflects the wealth and magnificence of Palla’s patronage oThe abundance of fold brocade, exotic animals, monkeys, leopards and falconds and a landscape detail are characteristic of the International Gothic style oGospel of Matthew Gentile was the first painter to adopt Donatello’s schiaccato to create the illusion of distance •The Brancacci Chapel Frescoes: Temptation and Expulsion of Adam and Eve oThey are rendered in chiatoscuro highlighted against a dark background oThe snake wining itself around the tree frames Eve, clearly indetifying her as the instigator of the Fall oThe expulsion, earliest nudes of the Renaissance painting othey stride forwards through the light of day, casting shadows back oEmphasis on mass and contour: Adam hunches over, his exaggerated right shoulder accentuating his shame as he coveres his face and draws his breath inwards
Brunelleschi’s Prespective System •Create the illusion of depth on a flat picture frame •He fixed the viewpoint of the viewer at the same location as that of the artist •As a method of controlling and directing the viewer’s line of sight, artists chose a vanishing point, where lines of sight converged. •When there was a single vanishing point, the system used was known as one point prespective •Because Renaissance artists aspired to naturalism, this method of constructing pictures and reliefs had enormous appeal.
It allowed Renaissance painters to pierce the picture plane and create the illusion of 3D space on a surface that in reality was 2D •Massaccio’s The Trinity •Is the first Renaissance painting to completely follow Brunelleschi’s new one point system of prespective •It represents an illusionistic chapel, cut into the wall which is occupied by the trinity •God is hovering over Christ and to the sides is the dove of the holy spirit and kneeling are the donors, generally thought to be members of the politically powerful Lenzi family. There is an iscription that reads ” I was once what you are, and what I am you will also be” admonishing the living to beware of tempetations of material pleasures and their ultimaye transience. •Serves a reminder that through Christ’s death the sins of Adam and by extension those of mandkind are redeemed. •He separates the space of the holy figures from the worldly space of the viewer. •He has constructed a hierarchy figural pyramid with his contemporaries closer to the viewing point. Masaccio follows Brunellesci’s system in which the viewer are assumed to look upward into the architecture. Italy at Mid –Century: Innovation and Tradition •Following Masaccio’s death, a new generation of painters in Florence, would build on his •Given the political situation in Florence, patronage was closely bound up with the Medici family •Leon Battista Alberti oClose friend and adviser of the medici family was a key figure in Renaissance art theory and a leading intellectual. •Fra Angelico •San Amarco Altarpiece One of the clearest examples of Alberti’s influence on painters oFor the Dominican church of San Marco in Florence oIts subject matter is traditional, representing the enthroned Virgin and Child surrounded by saits, but the prespective and certain iconographic features reflect the latest 15th C developments oThe square of the Turkish carpet provide orthogonals leading to the central vanishing point at the Virgin’s torso. oThe central line of the grid bisects the painting exactly so that the heads of the main figures (except for the Virgin) are framed in squares. Formal order and symmetry oThree friars at the right are balanced by three saints at the left oReplacing the traditional Gothic throne is a Classical niche similar to the one in Masaccio’s Trinity oFra Angelico follows Alberti by creating different kinds of variety of textures, pose, gestures oHe has also depicted the natural force of gravity in the draperies, especially the heavy robes of the Medici patron saints Cosmas and Damian Painting in Florence, II: 1430 – 1460 •The wealth of art produced in Florence around the middle of the 15th century, was enormous.
Perhaps the most significant of the painters who where contemporaries of Fra Angelico, and Filipo Lippu were Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagono and Domenico Veneziano. •Oaili Ucello, Battle of San Romano oThe central scene is the most symmetrical balanced of the three, although the narrative continues from left to right. oIts centrality is accentuated by the rearing white horse whose rider falls backwards, knocked off balance, by the long horizontal lance thirsted at him oThe episode contains densed crowding, indicating that the troops are engaged in the height of balance n the deluge a gemoteric order underlies the surface chaos. Ucello not only plays with prespective here, but with colors, especially noted in the horses (blue) that accentuate the conceptual character of the figures as well as of the space. •Domenico Veneziano Saint Lucy Altarpiece oWas commissioned for the high altar of the small church of Santa Lucia del Magnoli oIt is a sacra Convesazione holy figures in sacred space communicate through pose and gesture. oHere they are in symmetrical prespectival setting, with a vanashing point slightly below the central around Mary’s lap.
Sculpture and Architecture in Florence 1430’s – 1460’s •Brunelleschi’s theory of prespective and Alberti’s writtings continued to inform painting, sculpture and architecture throughout Italy as well as in Florence. •Bernardo Rossellino “Tomb of Leonardo Bruni” 1455 oFlorence decided to honored him with a funeral modeled on those accorded heroes in ancient Rome. oBecame the paradigm of the monumental humanist tomb The symmetrical structure of the tomb, with the framing Cornithina pilasters supporting a round arch, corresponds to the architectural aethetics of Brunellescho and Alberti oAbove the arch two winged putti display a laurel-wreath tondo containing a relief sculpture of a lion > the symbol of Florence, and the Bruny coat of arms. oBelow the arch, another tondo contains the Virgin and Christ oHe holds a book, probably to be identified as his History of the Florentine People which together with the eagles was a reminder of the Roman origins of the city’s republican character. •Donatello in the Mid Fifteen Century The earliest surviving nearly life sized organic nude since antiquity, the David is documented as being in the courtyard of the Medici Palace as of 1469 oIt has a relaxed contrapposto stance that is based on such Classical statues oHe depicts the hero as a slim, graceful, effete adolescent – an unusual conception of the biblical killer of Goliath oHe has a smug, self satisfied character •Donatello Gattamelata oEquesterian monument honoring the condotiere Erasmo da Narni known as Gattamelata oIwnes its impact to Donatello’s genius fro intellectual synthesis, technical skill and innovative approach to forma and psychology. The conception of the work, as well as the idealization of the figure, reflects Renaissance notins of the dignity of man. oHe is rendered as a graceful leader mounted on a powerful war horse. oDonatello has merged aspects of the traditional equestrian monument with antique iconography which is to portray Gattamelata as another Platonic guardian of the state. •Guards the state in the present and thus is continually watchful oThe iconography on his antique armor reinforces this role, most aggressively the winged meussa head on his breastplate. •Elsewhere on his armour are numerous figures of eros in various poses