Late Roman-Early Christian Art Vocabulary

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Constantinople Tetrarchy Porphyry Tondo Basilica Nave Apse Buttress Narthex Transept. Putto/Putti Catacomb Orant Diptych. Late Roman-Early Christian Art Vocabulary. Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius , Roman, 175 CE. Four Tetrarchs , Late Roman, 305 CE. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Late Roman-Early Christian Art

    VocabularyConstantinopleTetrarchyPorphyryTondoBasilicaNaveApseButtress NarthexTransept


  • Column of Antoninus Pius, Rome, 161 CEApotheosisPersonification

  • Decursio-ritual circling of the imperial funerary pyre (fire)

  • Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, Roman, 175 CE

  • Four Tetrarchs, Late Roman, 305 CETetrarchy: 2 Augustii (Sr.Emperor) and 2 Caesars (Jr. Emperor)=four emperors. One of each in the Western capital: Rome and in the Eastern capital: ByzantiumPorphyry

  • Constantine the GreatFirst Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire, Jr. Emperor in the WestDefeats Maxentius in 313 at Battle of the Milvian Bridge to be sole ruler in the WestDefeats Licinius in 324 to become sole ruler of the EmpireMoves capital to Byzantium-Constantinople

  • Arch of Constantine, Rome, 313-315 CE

  • Early Christian Art: Chapter 4

  • Basilica Nova, Rome, 306-312

  • Late Roman, Aula Palatina, Trier, Germany, 4th cent.

  • NaveApse

  • Early Christian, Old Saint Peters, Rome, ca. 320NarthexTranseptaisles

  • Early Christian, Santa Sabina, Interior, Rome, 422-32

  • Judaic, Synagogue at Dura Europos, Syria, 244-245 CE

  • The Exodus from Egypt

  • Roman Catacombs, Late RomanEarly 4th century

  • Early Christian, Three Hebrew Youths in the Fiery Furnace, Early 3rd Century, Catacomb of Pricilla, Rome

  • Early Christian, Catacomb of Ss. Peter and Marcelinus, Rome, 4th century

  • Early Christian, Sarcophagus of Maria Antigua, 270

  • Early Christian, Good Shepherd, late 3rd century, Rome

  • Relief detail from a marble sarcophagus of a vintage scene, ca. 3rd century, Rome

  • Late Roman, The Diptych of the Symmachi, ca. 400391 Pagan worship banned by Theodosius I

    *Antoninus Pius was a well-liked emperorSons built this column in his honor4 sides: one inscription, two decursio, one Apotheosis of Antoninus and his wife FaustinaApotheosis side is very Roman classical sculpturePersonifications of the Campus Martius-young man holding the obelisk that stood in RomeWoman as the personification of Rome in soldier dress, shield bears the insignia of RomeEmperor and wife ascend into the heavans on another personification.Shows the deification of the Emperor on his deathImagery of the plebians-after such a long separation, it was uncommon for the emperor to be shows with his wife-this suggests that he remained faithful to her all these years Class differences in art are crossing the boundariesSubject, tradition of the image and carving are all very classical in nature

    *No illusion of spatial depth-circle around to show distance, not made smaller in size or overlappingGround is not real, only chunks of marbleBody-short stalky figures, typical of plebian images, more stylized*Few bronze statues of emperors existMany were melted down in Middle ages for bronze, seen as pagan imagesThought to be constantine-placed on Capitoline hillExpresses majesty, strength, military prowess, victory and authorityPositioning above, looking down, arm outstretched-appears larger than the horsePsychological state comes through-appears tired and worried, wrinkles, slight frown Shows pressure of being emperor taking its tollShows Classical arts a tendency for naturalism is moving toward a new direction and not the predominant form for portraying the human form*Tetrarchy instigated by Diocletian 284-305 Feared troubles and uprising against himRan smoothly until he retired in 305-chaos between the new four emperorsEach man looks alike, no emphasis on who each is-meant to show unityEmbracing to show they work togetherReminiscent of Egyptian sculpture, not free from its block of stoneForms become cylindrical and lifeless*Seen some changes in the art of the 4th centuryWhy? Decline in skill?Creativity?Boredom?Classical tradition has the same goal from 5c bc to the 4c ad: how do we make it look more real?Doryphoros by Polykleitos: maybe they did achieve the perfect form but where do we go from here?What can we say about this sculpture? Does it have a deeper significance that we must focus on and decipher?Boredom seems to be the best answerDont artistic styles just happen? Why is there a need to find the reason?Two things: Religion and politicsLets start with politics*Constantine first christian emperor in RomeRules as Jr. Emperor with Maxentius in RomeDefeats him in the Battle of the Milvian bridge in 313 to be sole Emperor in the WestDefeats Licentius in 324 to be sole Ruler and moved capital to Byzantium and changes name to ConstantinopleArt will change due to the influence of eastern styles on the Imperial artists*Commemorates battle of Milvian BridgeChange in art reflects a change in PoliticsDiocletian retires and trouble brews throws a wedge between East and WestFirst battle he wins to gain the throne aloneSees the Chi Rho sign and attributes the victory to ChristEdict of Milan to legalize ChristianityThree passageways, Corinthian columns, Roman arches looks very classical*Mix of Classical and late Roman styles deliberate to show the old and the newPropaganda shows Constantine as restorer of the Golden age of RomeLooted materials from monuments of 2nd century emperors: hadrian, trajan, Marcus AureliusHeads cut off and replaced with Cons. Tondos: show very classical imagery-all pagan, nothing Christian-too unappealing to many pagansCompares himself with greatest of Roman EmperorsFrieze pulls away from Classical imagery: low relief, unnatural bodies, isocephalic, Cant be described as good art/bad art-instead we see more iconic, more symbollic images-more theoryTransitional piece between Classical and MedievalDeliberate use of very different styles highlights this comparison between old and new*Typical Roman meeting hall, for public use, not Christian or ReligiousTraditional Basilica style in Germany where Constantine constructed his new palaceTraditional Roman materials: wood, bricks, and stucco for a lighter surfaceNO side aisles, need buttresses for open windows that weaken the walls, 95 feet tall

    *Typical Roman meeting hall, for public use, not Christian or ReligiousTraditional Basilica style in Germany where Constantine constructed his new palaceTraditional Roman materials: wood, bricks, and stucco for a lighter surfaceNO side aisles, need buttresses for open windows that weaken the walls, 95 feet tall

    *Will be used by later Christians*313 edict of Milan legalized Christianity325 Council of Nicaea declared official state religionPaganism declines rapidly and Christians are allowed to practice anywhere they wantNeed for public churches-most outside perimeter of City since Christianity wasnt predominant before the Council of Nicaea-cover catacombsSt. Peters is in the city because it covers the supposed site of St. Peters BurialChristianity takes even architecture and adapts it to suit its needs. Very plain exterior like the Aula palatineMany people can get a good look at the ritual from this buildingDestroyed in 15th century*See interior of something like St. PetersFilled with mosaics or frescosWindows above, corinthian columns and arcades, apse and triumphal arch*The Synagogue discovered in Dura-Europos is one of the temples of the various religions existing in Dura at that time. It shows that there were a few Jewish families. Some were Christians and the rest of the population had adopted other religions prevailing in the Roman Period. The interior has mural paintings in four rows. The three upper rows depict scenes from the Old Testament, whereas the lower one shows a tiger, a lioness and a mask not relating to the upper scenes. The ceiling of the Synagogue is decorated with terracotta square slabs bearing motifs incarnating flora in human forms, or forms of flowers, roses, fruits and corn-ears etc. *This panel illustrates key events of the Exodus in a triptych moving from right to left. The right portion shows Moses leading the people of Israel as they leave behind Egypt, with its doors open. In the center of the panel, Moses has raised his hand, apparently holding a rod, over the sea to destroy the pursuing Egyptians (Exod 14:26-29). On the left Moses appears with the people of Israel, organized in twelve tribes, at his right hand. They have safely crossed through the Sea under the care of God, whose protecting hands overshadow them. *Not a fun place to be-not used for regular worship, but just for burialArt is created rapidly under miserable conditions*Many different scenes all separated by a thin line Content is important because it shows how Christian images derive from Jewish imagesThemes of Salvation and peace in the afterlifeGood Shepherd is a classical image: Calfbearer, offering sacrifice, as well as a God who cares for his flockBrings to mind a peaceful afterlife (Christ referred to himself as a Good Shepherd)Orant figure is of Prayer to any godJonah and the Whale comes from Jewish Narrative-old testament books of Jewish LawChristianity comes out of Jewish religion which rarely depicted god-2nd commandmentImages of one who is saved after death-Jonah and Whale

    Christianity had no artistic vocabulary of their own-its a young religion with a bible just becoming organized into a volumeChristians take OT and suit it to NT so that Jonah becomes a Christ-like figure being saved after death

    *Images often speak to members of all faithsChristianity has no individual imagery-it evolves by using borrowed images from Pagan and JudaismOrant figure-possible to all faithsMenorah, JewishHercules and Cerberius with Alcestis and Hades*Pagans subject to the same persecutions that Christians and Jews felt foreverChange of artistic styles Anything pagan was outlawed and seen as impious and blasphemousStyles changed so as not to be interpreted as PaganAnything classical in nature was seen as a reaction against ChristianityChristianity appealed to the lower classes to the outcasts, and the down-troddenIvory-wealthy familiesWedding memorial, Priestess of Baccus and Jupiter offers sacrifice of incenseClear pagan scene in a classical pagan style shows the defiance of certain groups to accept Christianity