Tuesday, September 27, 2016

AP Art History: Perspectives in Renaissance Architecture

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Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Michelozzo di Bartolommeo
begun 1444 (elongated in the 17th century by
the Riccardi family) 
Form:  The key to understanding the Renaissance Palazzo is understanding the vocabulary of forms of buildings used in Classical antiquity.  In this case, if you don't remember, please review this section.

The exterior of the building is a fake or faux finish.  The stringsourses of brickwork you see on its facade covers the real suporting structure underneath.  With the exception of the arches, that were later filled in, almost none of the exterior ornamentation serves a structural purpose.  The exterior of the building is almost like a drawing.
It is divided into three distinct levels.  Each level is defined by the level of relief of the masonry facade on the exterior.  At the top of the structure, you can see that the level of relief is actually quite low as you move to the center course it is a bit more etched deeply.  By the bottom course the rustification is quite pronounced.
Iconography:  The use of the arches refers to antiquity and is a way of giving the building some "class."  The rustification serves two purposes.  It makes the building look taller than it is by playing with the illusion of space.  It's almost like a sculptural version ofatmospheric perspective.  The further the courses are from the ground, the less the detail.  The rustification of the lower courses also serves to make the structure look more fortress like.  It looks thicker and tougher and also mimics some of the Classical ruins found throughout Italy.
Context:
Michelozzo di Bartolommeo b. 1396, Florence d. 1472, Florence
in full MICHELOZZO DI BARTOLOMMEO, MICHELOZZO also spelled MICHELOZZI, architect and sculptor, notable in the development of Florentine Renaissance architecture.Michelozzo studied with the celebrated sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti, in whose workshop he acquired the skills of a bronze founder. After 1420 they collaborated on the "St. Matthew" for the church of Or San Michele, Florence. In 1427 Michelozzo and the sculptor Donatello established a partnership, active until 1438, to build several architectural-sculptural tombs. They also collaborated on the pulpit (designed 1428) in Prato cathedral.
Throughout his career Michelozzo was closely associated with his principal patrons, the Medicis, and he followed Cosimo de' Medici into exile at Venice in 1433. Upon Cosimo's triumphant return to power in Florence in 1434, Michelozzo's architectural career began in earnest with several important commissions. In 1436 he began the complete rebuilding of the ruined monastery of San Marco at Florence. The elegant library he built for the monastery became the model for subsequent libraries throughout 15th-century Italy. In 1444-45 he directed the similar reconstruction of the large complex of church buildings at Santissima Annunziata, also in Florence. Michelozzo also temporarily succeeded Filippo Brunelleschi as architect for the cathedral of Florence upon the latter's death in 1446.
Michelozzo produced several innovations in the design of the Florentine palazzo, or palace. The basic plan called for a blocklike structure, usually three stories high, with a central open court. On the exterior the three stories were separated by horizontal string courses, and the rustication of the stonework was different in each story. The building was capped by a bold overhanging cornice. These features are outstanding in the palazzo that Michelozzo built in Florence for Cosimo de' Medici (1444-59; now called the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi), one of the finest examples of early Renaissance architecture.
In his later years Michelozzo restored several villas for the Medicis and worked as an engineer in Ragusa (now Dubrovnik, Croatia) and on the Greek island of Chios.
Brittanica

Links
Procession of the Magi in the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Florence (1459-60)
http://web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/org/orion/eng/hst/renais/medici.html

The interior of the courtyard of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, 
Form:  The interior of the courtyard of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi,  is designed somewhat after traditional interior courtyards of peristyle home found in Pompeii (see section in gray below). However, a major difference is that in this case the courtyards perimeter is set atop an arcade rather than a standard perimeter of post and lintel collumns.
Here's a diagram of the building
Context:  Atrium Style House from Pompeii

Form:  The typical atrium style house of Pompeii was fronted by the shops (1).  The structure usually housed a main house and sometimes even an additional ones (7) was rented out.  The fauces (latin for throat) or vestibulum (2) was a thin passageway that led into the atrium (8) in which the an open skylight above the atrium caught fresh water.  A similar open air peristyle courtyard (9) was located further in and the bedrooms, dining room, bathrooms, kitchen and other service areas radiated out from.  A vegetable garden in addition to the the flower garden provided delicacies such as fresh fruit and staples such as vegetables.Context:  These atrium style houses were really apartment houses and commercial districts combined into one structure.  As such, they were an incredible investment for the wealthy owner.  Not only were they self sufficient in terms of food, the rental on the shops and additional dwellings often paid for whatever loans and taxes owed on the complex.





Pompeii Peristyle Court c 79 AD
Form:  These peristyle courtyards had ornate sculpture and flower gardens surrounded by a perimeter of stylos (latin for column).  The perimeter columns held up the roof overhang under which furniture was placed.  The columns were often made of marble and often there was marble veneer on the concrete and brick wall.  The wall of the courtyard were often decorated with mosaics and or fresco.Iconography/Context:  The peristyle is almost misnamed because it is truly the atrium(latin for heart) of the house.  This is where the family gathered and in essence it was an outside living room.  Here air and light flowed through the space but the occupants would not be bothered by the noises and smells of the street.
Context:  (Who lived in the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, ?)
Cossimo d' Medici
b. Sept. 27, 1389, Florence
d. Aug. 1, 1464, Careggi, near Florencebyname COSIMO THE ELDER, Italian COSIMO IL VECCHIO, Latin byname PATER PATRIAE (FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY), founder of one of the main lines of the Medici family that ruled Florence from 1434 to 1537.
The son of Giovanni di Bicci (1360-1429), Cosimo was initiated into affairs of high finance in the corridors of the Council of Constance, where he represented the Medici bank. He went on from there to manage the papacy's finances and in 1462 filled his coffers to overflowing by obtaining from Pius II the Tolfa alum mines monopoly, alum being indispensable to Florence's famed textile industry. He was certainly the wealthiest man of his time, not only in terms of bullion but also in the amount of bank and promissory notes payable to his bank in Florence and to its branches operating in all the important financial markets of Europe. Such great power alone would have been sufficient to set the oligarchy against him; his "popular" policies rendered him completely intolerable. The Albizzi, one of the other leading families, attempted a coup. In 1431 Cosimo was vacationing in Cafaggiolo when he received a summons to reply to his indictment for the capital crime "of having sought to elevate himself higher than others." He could have taken refuge in Bologna, but instead he chose to let himself be incarcerated in a small dungeon in the Palazzo Vecchio. The Albizzi soon discovered that so wealthy a man could not be assassinated so easily. The jailer was bribed to taste Cosimo's food beforehand, and the gonfalonier, assuaged by the famous gold-bearing mules, arranged to have the usual death sentence reduced to banishment. Cosimo retired to Padua and Venice, where he was received like a sovereign. Exactly one year later, a sudden and unexpected move by the Medici, in which they doctored elections, gave them back the signoria (council of government). Cosimo triumphantly reentered the city; and his enemies went into exile, never to return. The Medici principate had begun (1434).
Cosimo traditionally has been accused of destroying Florentine liberties; but these ancient liberties, more of an illusion than a reality, had already ceased to exist in the Florence of the Albizzi. Cosimo only had to perpetuate the formula of those he was evicting, in other words, to maintain the appearance of a constitutional regime. But, in order not to be taken by surprise like the Albizzi, he perfected the system. He made no changes in the law's actual administration, but in the spirit of the law he changed everything. Previously, it was the rule to fill high official positions by drawing lots. The process was now manipulated so that only the names of men who could be depended upon were drawn. The independent mood of the two municipal assemblies was neutralized by making an exceptional procedure the rule: dictatorial powers were now granted for a fixed term that was always renewed. He also made an alliance with the Sforzas of Milan, who, for gold, provided him with troops. This alliance permitted Cosimo to crush the rising opposition by a coup d'état in August 1458 and to create a Senate composed of 100 loyal supporters (the Cento, or Hundred); thus he was able to live out the last six years of his life in security.
Cosimo required undivided power in order to carry out his plans as well as to satisfy his passions, above all his passion for building. Brunelleschi completed the "marble hat" of his famous cupola at the time of Cosimo's return in 1434; in addition, he almost completed the work on S. Lorenzo and on the Sagresta Vecchia and began work on the strange rotunda of Sta. Maria degli Angeli. He drew up plans for a princely palace for Cosimo; but the latter preferred the less lofty plans of Michelozzo, although Michelozzo's Medici Palace (the modern Palazzo Medici-Riccardi) was only slightly less grandiose and provided the first break with the family's traditional stance of humility. Under the patronage of Cosimo, Michelozzo also built the convent of S. Marco, the Medici Chapel at Sta. Croce, and a chapel at S. Miniato. In addition to architects, Cosimo gathered around him all the masters of an age abounding in geniuses: the sculptors Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello and the painters Andrea del Castagno, Fra Angelico, and Benozzo Gozzoli. He not only assured these artists of commissions but also treated them as friends at a time when people still looked upon them as manual workers.
Cosimo also organized a methodical search for ancient manuscripts, both within Christendom and even, with Sultan Mehmed II's permission, in the East. The manuscripts picked up by his agents form the core of the incomparable library that is rather unjustly called the Laurentian (Laurenziana), after his grandson. He opened it to the public and employed copyists in order to disseminate scholarly editions compiled by, among others, the Humanists Poggio and Marsilio Ficino.
In short, he was well prepared for the singular opportunity that came his way in 1439, when he succeeded in enticing the ecumenical council from Ferrara to Florence. The Council of Florence, Cosimo's most important success in foreign relations, deluded itself into believing it had finally ended the schism with the Eastern Church. As for Cosimo, he assiduously attended the lectures delivered by the Greek scholars, and at the age of 50 he became an ardent admirer of Plato. He then re-created Plato's ancient academy in his villa of Careggi, where Marsilio Ficino became the Platonic cult's high priest. At the same time the University of Florence, with conspicuous success, resumed the teaching of Greek, which had been unknown in the West for 700 years. Thus Cosimo was one of the mainsprings of Humanism.
In 1440 Cosimo prematurely lost his brother, who had been his staunchest supporter. In 1463 he had to face the loss of his most gifted son, Giovanni, thus leaving the succession to Piero, born in 1416, who was sickly and almost constantly bedridden. The future seemed dark to the old man as he roamed through his palace, sighing, "Too big a house for such a small family." He died in Careggi in 1464, and a huge crowd accompanied his body to the tomb in S. Lorenzo. The following year, the signoria conferred upon him the deserved title of Pater Patriae (Father of His Country).
Copyright © 1994-2001 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Leon Battista Alberti, Palazzo Rucellai  c. 1452-1470
Florence
Form:  The Palazzo Rucellai trades in the change in rustication for a change in the different orders that rise up the side of the structure. In this case, he uses the heavyest order, a flettened Doric/Tuscan style pilaster on the bottom, next a modified kind of collumn that looks alomost Ionic, and then a Corinthian level at the top.
His design is meant to mimic the order and arrangement one finds on the exterior of theColosseum.
Also see
http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/




Palazzo Rucellai
Leonbattista Alberti
c. 1452-1470 

Quoted from http://english.firenze.net/groups/6/53/artI199499.html
In rich and luxurious via della Vigna Nuova, at the heart of the city's historical center, famous for its splendid shop windows, is the home of one of the oldest and most prestigious historical residences of Florence's heritage. Palazzo Rucellai holds an important place in the city's patrimony, one of a city that was long ago celebrated as the world's art capital.The historic building was constructed in 1455 for a very important businessman, Giovanni Rucellai who commissioned Leon Battista Alberti for the construction of a residence that would find its place in the world's memory along with the worlds most important noble residences. To construct his grandiose project, Giovanni Rucellai bought and then tore down many of the surrounding houses.
The construction has two floors above the ground floor, the division of each marked by a linear cornice. On the ground floor there are two entrances crowned by windows and surrounded by small openings for air flow. The two square doorways are flanked by street benches that run the length of the building: long platforms in stone characteristic of 15th century buildings that then, and still today, serve as a resting place for passer-bys and visitors to the palazzo. The building's perspectives are made by the geometric lines of the upper floors. On the lines that divided the levels of the building rest the beautiful mullioned windows, on some of which the stone noble family crests are set. The geometry that sets the facade apart is that which closes the mullioned windows in between pillars topped with ornate classical capitals.


Inside the arch of the windows are the family crests of the noble Rucellai family: rings with diamonds and feathers. The first floor, traditionally called the noble floor, was decorated for the occasion of the wedding of Giuseppe Rucellai with Teresa de' Pazzi. The interiors of the upper floors are refined and simple: large ball rooms with vaulting frescoed with classically styled mythical figures, salons with sober and linear furnishings. Simple spaces that, in their vastness, bring to mind gala evenings of an age now long gone.Palazzo Rucellai includes in its dimensions another precious construction, that diagonally opposite it: the splendid Loggia Rucellai which opens onto via della Vigna Nuova through enormous panes of glass. It was constructed from three arches and an architrave with the precious family crests. Until 1677 the Loggia was the location of public and private Rucellai family ceremonies that were usually organized for special occasions. Through time it has undergone several changes. It was walled up, to be reopened to the public only in 1960 after long restoration work. Today it often serves as an exposition space for masterpieces in contemporary art.

Info:
Palazzo Rucellai
via della Vigna Nuova
Rosa Maria de Meo
http://english.firenze.net/groups/6/53/artI199499.html



Rustification 
in architecture, type of decorative masonry achieved by cutting back the edges of stones to a plane surface while leaving the central portion of the face either rough or projecting markedly. Rustication provides a rich and bold surface for exterior masonry walls. . .
Early Renaissance Italian architects further developed the tradition of rustication, using it effectively to decorate palaces in the 15th century. Thus, in the Pitti Palace (1458), the Medici-Riccardi Palace (1444-59), and the Strozzi Palace (c. 1489), all in Florence, the carefully designed rustication is the chief ornamental element.
Brittanica
Stringcourse,
in architecture, decorative horizontal band on the exterior wall of a building. Such a band, either plain or molded, is usually formed of brick or stone. The stringcourse occurs in virtually every style of Western architecture, from Classical Roman through Anglo-Saxon and Renaissance to modern.
Often the stringcourse is used as a line of demarcation between the stories of a multistoried building. It is also used, especially in classical and neoclassical works, as an extension of the upper or lower horizontal line of a bank of windows. Examples may be seen on the Pantheon, built in Rome in the 2nd century AD; on many palaces of Renaissance Italy, including the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi (1444-59) and the Palazzo Strozzi (1489-1539), both in Florence; and on various manor houses in the English Renaissance style of the mid-16th to early 19th centuries.
Brittanica

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Monday, September 26, 2016

An Analysis of the Renaissance use of the Central Plan in Renaissance Painting and Architecture

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Perugino's Perfect Plan 
 
Pietro Perugino, Delivery of the Keys to Saint Peter, 
(bottom most image)
Fresco in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome. 1482. 11'5.5" x 18'
Context: Pietro Perugino
b. c. 1450,, Città della Pieve, near Perugia, Romagna
d. , February/March 1523, Fontignano, near Perugia 
byname of PIETRO DI CRISTOFORO VANNUCCI Italian early Renaissance painter of the Umbria school, the teacher of Raphael. His work (e.g., "Giving of the Keys to St. Peter," 1481-82, a fresco in the Sistine Chapel, Rome) anticipated High Renaissance ideals in its compositional clarity, sense of spaciousness, and economy of formal elements.
The first certain work by Perugino is a "Saint Sebastian," at Cerqueto, near Perugia. This fresco, or mural painted on plaster with water-dissolved pigments, dates from 1478 and is typical of Perugino's style. He must have attained a considerable reputation by this time, since he probably worked for Pope Sixtus IV in Rome, 1478-79, on frescoes now lost. Sixtus IV also employed him to paint a number of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace. Completed between 1481 and 1482, three narrative scenes behind the altar were destroyed by Michelangelo in 1535-36 in order to use the space for his fresco of the "Last Judgment." Of the scenes completely by Perugino's own hand, only the fresco "Giving of the Keys to St. Peter" has survived. The simple and lucid arrangement of the composition reveals the centre of narrative action, unlike the frescoes in the same series by the Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli, which, in comparison, appear overcrowded and confused in their narrative focus. After completing his work in the Sistine Chapel, Perugino returned to Florence, where he was commissioned to work in the Palazzo della Signoria. In 1491 he was invited to sit on the committee concerned with finishing the Florence cathedral.
 "Perugino."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 30, 2002. 

 

Pietro Perugino, Delivery of the Keys to Saint Peter,
Fresco in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome. 1482. 11'5.5" x 18'
Make sure you read Stokstad's analysis of this work.Form:  Perugino's fresco is an excellent synthesis of many different kinds of formal perspectives.  The use of linear perspective in this image places the vanishing point directly in the center of the picture plane and directly in the doorway of the temple in the center of the image.  The linear perspective is further enhanced by the use of the gridlike pavement that stretches across the picture plane and the use ofatmospheric perspective.  There is also a consistent use of chiaroscuro across the picture plane which unifies the illusion of a consistent space.
Iconography and Context:  First and foremost this image provides us with a theological perspective in that the image centers around Jesus' passing his authority down to Peter.  In this instance, the point of view is decidedly Catholic in how it supports the Roman papacy of Sixtus IV.
We also see an idealistic and neoplatonic perspective in the depiction of an idealized or an imaginary space (which Stokstad discusses in some detail) and the depiction of ideal and classical architectural forms.   Notice that the buildings in the background are based on Roman building forms.
The two structures flanking the center building are both Roman triumphal arches.  The use of arches for a monument is an expression of Roman technology and therefore Roman genius.  The triumphal arch is a common symbol that is dedicated to the victories of particular emperors.
The building in the center looks very much like the Pantheon in Rome and this is no accident.  The use and creation of central plan churches really took off during the Renaissance.
The image above is an interpretation of the following from the Matthew 16
Matthew
Chapter 16
13
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
14
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16
Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
17
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
18
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
19
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
20
Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.
21
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.
22
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."
23
He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
25
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 
26
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
27
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.
28
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Raphael Marriage Of The Virgin 1509 oil on panel
Notice that the same iconography of the central plan church is used in Raphael's work as well who was Perugino's teacher.
  According to the Brittanica, 
During the Renaissance the ideal church plan tended to be centralized; that is, it was symmetrical about a central point, as is a circle, a square, or a Greek cross (which has four equal arms). Many Renaissance architects came to believe that the circle was the most perfect geometric form and, therefore, most appropriate in dedication to a perfect God.
Part of the reason for this was because of Leon Battista Alberti's treatise.  According to the Brittanica, Alberti wrote several treatises, his first,
The book On Painting, which he wrote in 1435, set forth for the first time the rules for drawing a picture of a three-dimensional scene upon the two-dimensional plane of a panel or wall. It had an immediate and profound effect upon Italian painting and relief work, giving rise to the correct, ample, geometrically ordered space of the perspectival Renaissance style. Later perspectival theorists, such as the painter Piero della Francesca and Leonardo, elaborated upon Alberti's work, but his principles remain as basic to the projective science of perspective as Euclid's do to plane geometry.
He then restored,
the classic text of Vitruvius, architect and architectural theorist of the age of the Roman emperor Augustus. With customary thoroughness, Alberti embarked upon a study of the architectural and engineering practices of antiquity that he continued when he returned to Rome in 1443 with the papal court. By the time Nicholas V became pope in 1447, Alberti was knowledgeable enough to become the Pope's architectural adviser. The collaboration between Alberti and Nicholas V gave rise to the first grandiose building projects of Renaissance Rome, initiating among other works the reconstruction of St. Peter's and the Vatican Palace. As the Este prince was now dead, it was to Nicholas V that Alberti dedicated in 1452 the monumental theoretical result of his long study of Vitruvius. This was his De re aedificatoria (Ten Books on Architecture), not a restored text of Vitruvius but a wholly new work, that won him his reputation as the "Florentine Vitruvius." It became a bible of Renaissance architecture, for it incorporated and made advances upon the engineering knowledge of antiquity, and it grounded the stylistic principles of classical art in a fully developed aesthetic theory of proportionality and harmony."Alberti, Contribution to philosophy, science, and the arts."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 30, 2002. 
OK.  So now you probably want to know who Vitruvius was. Vitruvius's ideas were first published in his De architectura.  The De architectura was then republished many times during the Renaissance and  used by such artists as Leonardo who expresses  Vitruvius's ideas in his Vitruvian Man.
According to the Brittanica
Vitruvius
 fl. 1st century BC in full MARCUS VITRUVIUS POLLIO, Roman architect, engineer, and author of the celebrated treatise De architectura (On Architecture), a handbook for Roman architects. Little is known of Vitruvius' life, except what can be gathered from his writings, which are somewhat obscure on the subject. Although he nowhere identifies the emperor to whom his work is dedicated, it is likely that the first Augustus is meant and that the treatise was conceived after 27 BC. Since Vitruvius describes himself as an old man, it may be inferred that he was also active during the time of Julius Caesar. Vitruvius himself tells of a basilica he built at Fanum (now Fano).De architectura was based on his own experience, as well as on theoretical works by famous Greek architects such as Hermogenes. The treatise covers almost every aspect of architecture, but it is limited, since it is based primarily on Greek models, from which Roman architecture was soon decisively to depart in order to serve the new needs of proclaiming a world empire. De architectura is divided into 10 books dealing with city planning and architecture in general; building materials; temple construction and the use of the Greek orders; public buildings (theatres, baths); private buildings; floors and stucco decoration; hydraulics; clocks, mensuration, and astronomy; and civil and military engines. Vitruvius' outlook is essentially Hellenistic. His wish was to preserve the classical tradition in the design of temples and public buildings, and his prefaces to the separate books of his treatise contain many pessimistic remarks about the contemporary architecture. Most of what Pliny says in his Natural History about Roman construction methods and wall painting was taken from Vitruvius, though unacknowledged. Vitruvius' expressed desire that his name be honoured by posterity was realized. Throughout the antique revival of the Renaissance, the classical phase of the Baroque, and in the Neoclassical period, his work was the chief authority on ancient classical architecture.
The text of De architectura with an English translation is published in the Loeb Classical Library in two volumes.
 "Vitruvius."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 11, 2002.

 

Donato Bramante, Tempietto.
in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome
1502
Vesta at Tivoli engraving by Piranesi

Make sure you read Stokstad's description.  She uses some very precise terminology to describe the structure. Form:  This small temple is a kind of cross between the Pantheon and the Parthenon.  It has a dome and is a central plan like the Pantheon but uses a different order, the Doric as in the Parthenon.  It is also contained within a small courtyard that was not part of its original design.   Originally, the building was to be placed in a circular colonnaded courtyard which was designed to "set off" the design of the temple itself.   According to the Brittanica, the building was "specifically inspired by the temple of Vesta at Tivoli."
Iconography:  The use of a classical design that refers back to the Parthenon and Pantheon is designed to give the building an antique and therefore authoritative and classic feel.  The circular shape is almost like a target from above and would have been even more powerful as an icon if Bramante's original plans had been followed.  As it is, the buildings shape and design are also very appropriate because the symmetrical design plays into its function which was to focus the attention of the monument on the site where St. Peter was supposedly martyred.
Context:  The construction of the Tempietto was commissioned by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.  It's name is actually an affectionate kind of nickname.  Tempietto is an Italian nickname for small temple.
This building is specifically important in terms of context because it allowed Bramante to explore some ideas that he would later on use in his design of St. Peter's Cathedral which was rebuilt, at least at first, in central style plan.
 

  
  
 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

AP Art History: Donatello

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Donatello. David. c1425-1430. Bronze,
height 5'2"
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence
Form:  This lifesize bronze sculpture stands in a contrapposto stance.  His musculature is that of a young boy, probably around the age of thirteen or so.  The hat he wears (described by Stokstad as jaunty) is anachronistic and possibly out of place even for a shepherd boy from Italy in the 15th century.  David stands atop the bearded and helmeted head of Goliath who he has just vanquished. Iconography and Context:  According to Janson, "this is the first life sized free standing sculpture since antiquity."  The figures size and pose are almost direct references to the classical tradition of casting idealized athletic figures in bronze with the lost wax process as evinced by the Doryphoros and Riace Bronzes (although they would not have been familiar with the bronzes since they were discovered in the 1970's).  In this way, Donatello would have combined the Bible story of David and Goliath with the classical and humanistic concept of kalos.  In effect, he was uniting both a theological and neoplatonic/humanistic point of view.
The iconography also points towards a political point of view.  The Italian city states were constantly at war with each other.  For example, Florence thought of themselves as the "David" to Rome's Goliath.  In this case, David is standing atop Goliath's head who sports a helmet.  According to Janson's Art History, the "elaborate helmet of Goliath with visor and wings, (is) a unique and implausible feature that can only refer to the dukes of Milan, who had threatened Florence."  For Janson, the hat David sports is then a reference to peace.
You may find Donatello's David a little bit ridiculous looking in his sun hat and almost effeminate stance and you are in good company.  Irving Stone's the chapter entitled "The Giant" from the book The Agony and the Ecstasy excerpted in Liaisons (page 164) Michelangelo explains why he thinks Donatello's version of David is ridiculous.
Stone quotes the Bible extensively in his passage.  Read the whole thing for yourself here and (I know it's a crazy idea), maybe you might even want to look it up in Liaisons!
 
1 Samuel
Chapter 17 (David and Goliath)
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/1samuel/1samuel17.htm
1
The Philistines rallied their forces for battle at Socoh in Judah and camped between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes-dammim.
2
Saul and the Israelites also gathered and camped in the Vale of the Terebinth, drawing up their battle line to meet the Philistines.
3
The Philistines were stationed on one hill and the Israelites on an opposite hill, with a valley between them.
4
A champion named Goliath of Gath came out from the Philistine camp; he was six and a half feet tall.
5
He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a bronze corselet of scale armor weighing five thousand shekels,
6
1and bronze greaves, and had a bronze scimitar slung from a baldric.
7
2 The shaft of his javelin was like a weaver's heddle-bar, and its iron head weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went before him.
8
He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel: "Why come out in battle formation? I am a Philistine, and you are Saul's servants. Choose one of your men, and have him come down to me.
9
If he beats me in combat and kills me, we will be your vassals; but if I beat him and kill him, you shall be our vassals and serve us."
10
The Philistine continued: "I defy the ranks of Israel today. Give me a man and let us fight together."
11
Saul and all the men of Israel, when they heard this challenge of the Philistine, were dismayed and terror-stricken.
12
3 (David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. He had eight sons, and in the days of Saul was old and well on in years.
13
The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to war; these three sons who had gone off to war were named, the first-born Eliab, the second son Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
14
David was the youngest. While the three oldest had joined Saul,
15
David would go and come from Saul to tend his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
16
(Meanwhile the Philistine came forward and took his stand morning and evening for forty days.
17
(Now Jesse said to his son David: "Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves for your brothers, and bring them quickly to your brothers in the camp.
18
Also take these ten cheeses for the field officer. Greet your brothers and bring home some token from them.
19
Saul, and they, and all Israel are fighting against the Philistines in the Vale of the Terebinth."
20
Early the next morning, having left the flock with a shepherd, David set out on his errand, as Jesse had commanded him. He reached the barricade of the camp just as the army, on their way to the battleground, were shouting their battle cry.
21
The Israelites and the Philistines drew up opposite each other in battle array.
22
David entrusted what he had brought to the keeper of the baggage and hastened to the battle line, where he greeted his brothers.
23
While he was talking with them, the Philistine champion, by name Goliath of Gath, came up from the ranks of the Philistines and spoke as before, and David listened.
24
When the Israelites saw the man, they all retreated before him, very much afraid.
25
The Israelites had been saying: "Do you see this man coming up? He comes up to insult Israel. If anyone should kill him, the king would give him great wealth, and his daughter as well, and would grant exemption to his father's family in Israel."
26
David now said to the men standing by: "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and frees Israel of the disgrace? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine in any case, that he should insult the armies of the living God?"
27
They repeated the same words to him and said, "That is how the man who kills him will be rewarded."
28
When Eliab, his oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he grew angry with David and said: "Why did you come down? With whom have you left those sheep in the desert meanwhile? I know your arrogance and your evil intent. You came down to enjoy the battle!"
29
David replied, "What have I done now?--I was only talking."
30
Yet he turned from him to another and asked the same question; and everyone gave him the same answer as before.
31
The words that David had spoken were overheard and reported to Saul, who sent for him.)
32
Then David spoke to Saul: "Let your majesty not lose courage. I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine."
33
But Saul answered David, "You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth."
34
Then David told Saul: "Your servant used to tend his father's sheep, and whenever a lion or bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock,
35
I would go after it and attack it and rescue the prey from its mouth. If it attacked me, I would seize it by the jaw, strike it, and kill it.
36
Your servant has killed both a lion and a bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine will be as one of them, because he has insulted the armies of the living God."
37
David continued: "The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear, will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine." Saul answered David, "Go! the LORD will be with you."
38
Then Saul clothed David in his own tunic, putting a bronze helmet on his head and arming him with a coat of mail.
39
David also girded himself with Saul's sword over the tunic. He walked with difficulty, however, since he had never tried armor before. He said to Saul, "I cannot go in these, because I have never tried them before." So he took them off.
40
Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag. With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.
41
With his shield-bearer marching before him, the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
42
When he had sized David up, and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance, he held him in contempt.
43
The Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?" Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
44
and said to him, "Come here to me, and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field."
45
David answered him: "You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
46
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand; I will strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will leave your corpse and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field; thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
47
All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves. For the battle is the LORD'S, and he shall deliver you into our hands."
48
The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine.
49
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell prostrate on the ground.
50
(Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.)
51
Then David ran and stood over him; with the Philistine's own sword (which he drew from its sheath) he dispatched him and cut off his head.When they saw that their hero was dead, the Philistines took to flight.
52
Then the men of Israel and Judah, with loud shouts, went in pursuit of the Philistines to the approaches of Gath and to the gates of Ekron, and Philistines fell wounded along the road from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron.
53
On their return from the pursuit of the Philistines, the Israelites looted their camp.
54
4 David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem; but he kept Goliath's armor in his own tent.
55
(When Saul saw David go out to meet the Philistine, he asked his general Abner, "Abner, whose son is that youth?" Abner replied, "As truly as your majesty is alive, I have no idea."
56
And the king said, "Find out whose son the lad is."
57
So when David returned from slaying the Philistine, Abner took him and presented him to Saul. David was still holding the Philistine's head.
58
Saul then asked him, "Whose son are you, young man?" David replied, "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem."

 


Donatello, The Feast of Herodabout 1425(60 cm sq)
Baptismal Font, Cathedral, Siena, Italy
 Points of view are very important in Donatello's work.  Stokstad gives a fantastic formal analysis of this work in her book but the most important formal point I think you should know is that linear perspective is introduced into relief sculpture.  Stokstad even describes the varying levels of relief as a way of creating depth, which is not unlike linear perspective.  A good example of this is in the Ara Pacis in Rome.  The Bible passage below should provide you with enough context to understand my contextual analysis which comes after.
Mark
Chapter 6
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/mark/mark6.htm
17
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
18
John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
19
Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
20
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
21
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
22
Herodias's own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
23
He even swore (many things) to her, "I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom."
24
She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" She replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
25
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request, "I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
26
The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.
27
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
28
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
29
When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

 
 
Context and Iconography:  Overall, the image uses linear perspective to unify the image but still uses some of the old traditional tools of the continuous narrative that we see in Nicola Pisano's Nativity and Masaccio's work.  In the background, through the arches, servants carry the head on a tray.
The next sets of perspective Donatello expresses is a Catholic and Neoplatonic one as well as one dominated by a male point of view of the world that some historians refer to as the "male gaze."
The passage above describes the immorality of King Herod.  Not only is he a king who rejects the teachings of Jesus, he also supports immoral and sexually indiscreet behaviors such as incest and improper marriage.  Ultimately, it is Herod's lust for his daughter that leads to his sin of beheading John.  This story presents women in a way which might be referred to as afemme fatale.  According to Webster's a  femme fatale a "disastrous woman." "A seductive woman who lures men into dangerous or compromising situations." and "a woman who attracts men by an aura of charm and mystery."
Similar tales, such as "Judith and Holofernes" and "Suzanna and the Elders" (both excerpted from the Old Testament in Liaisons pages 197-214)  depict men's lust for women as responsible for powerful men's demise.  The depiction of women in this way is interesting because it is a theme that becomes a popular one throughout the Renaissance and ties very neatly into the concept of Platonic love.  By the time the 20th century rolls around depictions of women with heads on  trays become so commonplace that the story of "Judith and Holofernes" and the "Dance of Salome" become indistinguishable.
 


Donatello, St. Mark 1411-13
Orsanmichele and is in the Arte dei Linauiulo e Rigattieri niche
Florence, Italy

Form: Points of view are very important in Donatello's work.  Notice how the image on the left has been photographed from a point of view in which the viewer is looking at the work from a point of view in which they are on the same level with the sculpture.  The image on the right is taken from below as the sculpture would have been seen in its original context.Notice how the image on the left feels imbalanced and the head is a little too large and placed oddly.  However, when you look at the image in the way that it was supposed to be viewed it looks correct.  This is because Renaissance artists like Donatello compensated for the viewer's point of view or perspective when creating works of art.
In the essay below, Dennis Nolasco also explains how the sculpture expresses a civic perspective and the point of view of the merchants who commissioned it into account.


 

 Dennis Nolasco
 Art History 103B
 April 16, 2001
The Vigilance of St. Mark over the Florentine People
Quattrocento (15th century) Florence was in a peculiar situation during the first decade of the 1400s. Florence, at that time, was controlled by guilds and the citizens truly valued their prosperity and liberty. It also had the most powerful of the free merchant guilds and controlled quite a bit of trade. As a result, Florence was constantly under siege by its neighbors and some of the attacks were seemingly halted by divine intervention. These dire circumstances led to the creation of artworks such as Donatello's St. Mark. A truly revolutionary statue, this piece single-handedly changed the state of the arts in Italy from Gothic to “fully Renaissance.” (Hartt 100) By analyzing St. Mark further through its form, iconography, and context, one can empathize with Donatello and his fellow Florentines. The St. Mark signifies true Renaissance art and reflects the humanism, spirit and ideals of the Florentine people of the time.
 Donatello's St. Mark is an impressive seven feet nine inches and is carved of marble. It was begun around 1411 and finished in 1413. According to Hartt, the statue is located in the Florentine church Orsanmichele and is in the Arte dei Linauiulo e Rigattieri niche. The figure stands in a contrapposto pose and is robed in wet drapery. He holds a book (probably a Bible) in his left, is barefooted and seems to be standing on a cushion. The statue is in an apse, which is heavily decorated and also made of marble. The apse is in the shape of a Gothic arch and is decorated appropriately. A griffin sits below the statue and in front of a flower motif. The same motif is patterned behind the statue. There are faux columns on top of pedestals to either side of St. Mark, which do not seem to represent any Greek order. The columns actually have three parts, the topmost having a small Gothic arch crowned with small figures. A bust of a man resides within the arch. He has a halo behind his head, has his right hand held forward and holds a book in his left hand. Below and to either side of the center bust are side profiles of two men, which are surrounded by the same motif that decorates the rest of the piece.
Despite all the decorations, St. Mark still stands at the center of attention. To begin with, he has a stern and imposing stare about him. The statue seems to be concentrating on something beyond the viewer's peripheral view. This symbolizes St. Mark's constant vigil of Florence and the land beyond; always wary of what moves Florence's neighbors might be up to. The figure also has a full mustache and beard. An iconographic analysis reveals that beards have been a symbol of wisdom and knowledge since the time of ancient Greece. St. Mark also holds a book and wears a robe. The symbol of the book can be read in a couple different ways. The most obvious interpretation would be a Bible, because St. Mark was the author to one of the Gospels. This implies the saints closeness with heaven and God. Another interpretation could be that of a record book. According to Encarta Online, Mark was the “patron saint of notaries” and also served as a translator for St. Peter. This could be a symbol of learning and record keeping. Most Renaissance artwork of saints usually has them outfitted in robes. It is probably due to the fact that priests and monks dress in a similar fashion--which again represents the figure's affinity to the spiritual world. St. Mark also stands in the classic contrapposto pose. This is a pose in which the body takes on a natural s-curve. The pose was adopted from ancient Greek and Roman statues and exemplifies the neo-platonism and humanism of the Florentine people. Neo-platonism is the rebirth of the higher ideals of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Similarly, humanism is “A new realism based on the study of humanity and nature, an idealism found in the study of Classical forms.” (Tansey 683) The columns can also be thought of in this way, because it is only used for decorative purposes and just serves to remind the Quattrocento Florentines of their mastery over classical forms. Finally, the Gothic arch with the figures serves a purpose similar to the main statue of St. Mark. The major iconographic differences would be the raised hand, halo, and arch; these respectively may suggest peace, enlightenment, and a connection to heaven.
With all that the Quattrocento Florentines had to endure at the time, one may wonder why they chose to create icons of peace and not use their resources to help protect their city-state from harm. Quattrocento Florentines were no Spartans of old; whenever they tried to do battle with their enemies, they would fail miserably in combat. (Hartt 105) Their pride was in their powerful artisan guilds, resilience, and . . . divine intervention. Florence had been desired by a host of conquerors and was several times on the edge of defeat, if not but for miracles of some sort. Natural disaster and disease would often befall upon Florence's enemy before they could seize her gates. The Florentines did not take this lightly and thought that God had intervened on their behalf because of what their city represented--freedom. (Hartt 104) With this mindset, artists began to create truly natural, expressive and humanistic art, and Donatello was at the forefront of this movement. Donatello wanted to create a piece that captured Florence's spirit and resilience. He did this perfectly. The iconographic analysis revealed that the saint seemed to be a vigil of some sort. A contextual analysis further reinforces this. St. Mark seems ready to leap into action and protect the people of Florence from the dangers that lurked abroad. Unsurprisingly, the St. Mark was actually commissioned by the guild of linen drapers. (Tansey 683) As one can see, it is a perfect piece for the reintroduction of wet-drapery (clothing that seemed to follow the natural curves of the body). Moreover, the most likely meaning of the flower motifs would probably have to do with the guild of linen drapers. The linen drapers were, in all likelihood, just as thankful for the supposed divine intervention as the other Florentines, and they thanked God by commissioning the statue.
 Gothic statues similar to St. Mark were actually commissioned before the birth of the Renaissance in the 1300s; nevertheless, a few enlightened individuals were already reveling in the classical ideas of neo-platonism that had originated during this time. In any event, Gothic art still survived and influenced many artists. It wasn't until the time of Donatello and his radical St. Mark when true Renaissance art was fully realized in Quattrocento Florence. In part, due to amazing miracles that happened, the Florentine people suddenly embraced their humanity and tried to give expression to this overwhelming sensation. Donatello realized this and became a major player in actualizing this newfound feeling through his St. Mark, and inspired many of his contemporaries (and later artists) to further push in the direction of humanism in art. An embodiment of true neo-platonic ideals--perseverance, spirituality, and freedom--the creation of the St. Mark truly gave birth to the Renaissance for those that lived in Quattrocento Florence.
Works Cited
Hartt, Frederick, and Carole Gold Calo, ed. “Art and Freedom in Quattrocento Florence.”
Viewpoints: Readings in Art History. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2001
“Mark, Saint,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001
 16 Aug. 2001
Tansey, Richard G., and Fred S. Kleiner. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. 10th ed. Fort 
Worth: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1996.
 

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Frank Fruzyna

I came across Frank Fruzyna oof the Advocate website.
http://www.advocate.com/artist-spotlight/2016/2/20/artist-spotlight-frank-fruzyna

I'm looking for other artists have the punch that other powerful homoerotic artists have.  There's a lot to see in his work and a lot to enjoy.

I'm not sure if you could say that directly work as a homoerotic kind of qualities except for I think it does. Remember what a turn on that Robert DeNiro poster was Raging Bull? His work has the scene kind of qualities except for it seems to be more informed by his career as a designer in terms of the color and line.

I think if you look at this work on the left you'll see that he is using what artists referred to as nonlocal color. What I mean by this is he's using colors that you ordinarily wouldn't expect to find places such as the shadowing skin. Notice the blues that are used.  He really seems to have a handle on how colors relate to one another. Of course there's another part of his work that has to do with the content matter. He does do some other things and if you look at his other website you'll see that he has a range of work that would appeal to almost anybody. And I think this is a great quality to be able to appeal to a larger audience.

However, as I've chosen here boxers, are manly, muscular, and all of power.  The faces of his men are bruised, and black  eyes and are clearly strongmen.  This kind of appeals to me in a kind of Fight Club kind of way.



He also does do some other things that one could see as fashion or at least Tom Ford kind handsome men.
 
They in which he render faces is both powerful and handsome.  He seems to understand what a macho man looks like. I love the chiseled appearance of the jaw line and sculpted appearance of the lips and brow line. The use of orange and purple and peach eenhance this image and give it a power that leaps off the canvas.

http://www.fruzyna.com/

Snarky Blue Eyed Twink, oil on canvas panel 8x10 inches Kenney Mencher.  www.Kenney-Mencher.com