Beginnings-1800s Art History Notes

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Notes about significant pieces in the history of art,

Text of Beginnings-1800s Art History Notes

Church of Hagia Sophia 532-537, Anthemius of Tralles + Isidorus of Miletus

-during time of Constantine there was a move to recenter the empire in the east to Constantinople (modern day Istanbul)

-buttresses + minarets added in the 15th century when it became a mosque

-exterior was plain, interior very decorated with mosaics and marble panels in many different colors

-greatest spectacle is the ring of windows at the base of the dome-gives a sense that the dome is floating on air and fills the space with almost mystical light-unlike pantheon it is not supported with a drum, but rather used pendentives (4 of them) which were connected to supportive piers

Emperor Justinian and His Attendants, North Wall of the Apse. Consecrated 547

Icon of the Virgin and Child with Angels and Saints. Monastery of St. Catherine, Mount Sinai, Egypt. Second half of the 6th century

The Dome of the Rock, c. 690. Jerusalem.

-Gold roof originally covered with mosaics (reflected light)


-Adopted some byzantine techniques

-12 columns

-Centrally planned octagonal building

-Two ambulatories

-Inner colonnade = 4 piers and 8 columns

-Outer colonnade = 8 piers and 16 columns

-Not a mosque (no large congregational space) A jeweled reliquary or shrine

Prayer Hall, Great Mosque, Cordoba, Spain. Begun 785786.

-largest mosque in Islamic west, as a result of several expansion projects

-developed on the site of a Christian church; adapted for the growing urban populations need

-horseshoe arch, lower arch of double arch system commonly associated with western Islamic architecture-gives the space the feeling of being filled with light-more than a half-circle (pinched in at the bottom)

-patterning at this mosque with the red brick and white stone is visually appealing as well as providing strength with the use of two different materials

Tile Mosaic Mihrab. C. 1354.

-wall niche

-originally from a madrasa, school of advanced study, in Iran

-covered in impressive blue tile work; indicative of Persian artisans

-all tiles cut and fit together perfectly

-script and text become part of pattern-duties of believers, rewards of builders of mosques

-inner arch = script = five pillars of islam

Minbar. 112530.

-leader of communal prayer may stand on this

Nadir al-Zaman (Abul Hasan). Jahangir and Shah Abbas. Mughal period, c. 1618

-Jahanngir (on lion; predator) and Islamic ruler Shah Abbas (on lamb:prey)

-standing on a globe (shows their power and influence over the world)

-cherubs (celestial beings/angels) seemingly supporting the sun and moon (sun disc/crescent moon)

-hieratic scale of Jahangir appearing larger as well as standing on more land than Shah Abbas; although they are depicted as embracing each other Jahangirs size makes it seem as though Shah is bowing to him

Taj Mahal. Mughal period, in Agra, Uttar Pradesh India, built during the reign of Shah Jahan, c. 16311648.

- Inside, the Taj Mahal invokes the hasht behisht (eight paradises), a plan named for the eight small chambers that ring the interior one at each corner and one behind each iwan, a vaulted opening with an arched portal, that is a typical feature of eastern lslamic architecture

-drew on traditions of funerary buildings but also created something more grand

-Two stories tall, white marble structure that is one of the worlds best- known monument; white marble gives the effect of changing colors depending on time of day

-construct while Shah Jahan

-Beautiful Called the teardrop

-Built for Shah Jahans wife, Mumtaz Mahal who died in childbirth, and likely as a tomb for himself

-Sits on the large platform

-Two towers beside the main building- 4 towers in total on the side

-two extra towers are not minarets

-domes topped with lotus motifs

-gilded spires on top of domes have golden crescents, merging Persian and hindu influences/styles

-allegorical structure of the day of resurrection

-symbolic replica of the throne of god (central building)

-layout of complex with 4 intersecting rivers symbolic of paradise

-decorative vegetative and floral designs representative of an abundance of life, but addition of cypress trees along the rivers, which are symbols of death, make it representative of the whole life-cycle of an individual

-symmetry + harmony = paradise

Fan Kuan, Travellers among Mountains and Streams, Northern Song Dynasty, early 11th Century. Hanging scroll, ink and colours on silk

-landscape painting drew on other forms of Chinese philosophy (daosim + confuciansim)-tended to be produced for an elite few

-literati painters were generally amateurs (or non-professionals, do not paint for a living) that painted for a select group of like-minded people (men)-literati painting very concerned with ethics of Confucianism and the painters own-less concerned with technical showmanship or skill-sometimes minimal color-great emphasis on the idea that the style that a painter controlled his brush reflecttheir inner character

-much of government positions during the time of 960-1279 filled by scholars who became influential fostered literati painters-Fan Kuan first masters of Song Dynasty landscape painters

-composition seems to be meticulously sectioned and ordered in three phases, so as to help the viewer progress through it as they would if they were a traveller

-the small size of the travellers emphasizes just how small man is compared to everything else in nature (eternal facets of nature; things that will outlast humans)

-transition point = white rising mist-gives impression that the rocky mountain is pushing up against the picture plane

Shen Zhou. Poet on a Mountaintop. Ming Dynasty, c. 1500.

-blends expressive poetry with the artists personal interpretation of a landscape

-shen zhou tiny figure moved by scale of nature around him

-human dwelling buried in the trees

-variety of brush strokes and dots, varying intensity of ink reflect shen zhous personal style; not very dependent on other artists style

-use of negative space suggests a great amount of information; mist, cloud, snow

Hinged Clasp, from the Sutton Hoo Burial Ship. First half of 7th century

-pure gold

-used to attach cloak or armor to the owner

-serpentine or snake like forms

-symbols of strength and tenacity such as the wild boars on the ends-tusks are interlaced; fighting each other-suggests the qualities of owner or qualities owner wish upon themselves

-animal style; emphasis on use of animal motifs to represent certain traits or beliefs associated with particular animals depicted in the art

Chi Rho Iota Page from the Book of Kells. Late 8th or early 9th century.

-illuminated manuscripts designed so that the reader could spend a long time examining and reflecting on the smallest details to help them focus their reading and prayer

-text of gospel of evangelist of matthew; birth of Christ in the nativity

-three initial letters buried in the patterning; X, P, I-First three initials of christs name in ancient greek-word written at bottom: initial word or part of a word used to indicate rest of text tofollow

-animal details in the interlace work

-syncretism; melding of non-christian styles within a Christian context-animal ornamental motifs; celtic and anglo-saxon metal work merged with explicitly Christian subject (capital letters, linework)

Equestrian Portrait of Charles the Bald (?). 9th century

-mimics roman values of what a good leader represents; strength, pride, power

-similar to equestrian portrait of marcus aurellus-similar pose + values portrayed in visual

Saint Gall Plan (Original). c. 817. 28 44 1/8 and redrawn with captions

Transept, Cathedral of St. James, Santiago de Compostela. 10781122.

Reconstruction Drawing (After Conant) of Cathedral of St. James, Santiago de Compostela. 10781122; western portions later.

Gislebertus (?). The Last Judgment, Tympanum at Ste-Lazare, Autun. c. 11201130 or 11301145.


Romanesque Church Portal.

French Gothic Architecture: 1144-1300s+Abbey church of Saint Denis, Just north of Paris, FranceSt. Dionysius (Fr. Denis) brought Christianity to Franks in Roman Gaul in 3rd century Abbot Suger *advisor to the Capetian Kings

-important site for catholics in france

-saint denis first bishop of paris and patron saint of france; remains buried here

-also burial site of french royal capetian family

-beginning of gothic style of architecture being used here

-christ = divine quality of light

-interior similar to traditional Romanesque pilgrimage church, but also devised system to allow for many visitors to cycle through it w/o disturbing the clergy

L: Plan of the Choir of the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis. 11401144.R: Chevet (choir) of Abbey church of Saint Denis, north of Paris, France, rebuilt by Abbot Suger 1140-1144.

-bulk of walls inbetween chapels eliminated with use of massive piers and exterior buttresses

-apse/ambulatory + radiating chapels = more organic flow within space

-thinner walls = more/bigger windows = more light = more sense of divinity and closer to heaven

-piers + exterior buttresses allowed for less bulk in the walls and supports allowing for more/bigger windows to let in colored (divine) light

West Faade, Chartres Cathedral (The Cathedral of Notre-Dame). West faade begun c. 1134; cathed