Thursday, August 25, 2016

Late Roman and Early Christian Art: Constantine and After


Late Roman and Early Christian Art
Time Line
Ancient Greece 100 B.C.E.
Golden Age of Pericles- 500 B.C.E.
High Hellenistic Period- 350 B.C.- 100 B.C.E.
Beginning of Pagan Roman Empire- 200 B.C.E.
Roman Empire- 200 B.C.- 315 C.E.
Early Christian Era- 315 A.D. - 800 C.E.

 
 

Arch of Titus, Rome, Italy c 81 CE. 
Concrete and white marble
50' tall
Roman Empire
Form:  Using the technology of Roman arches and the advancements of Roman slow drying concrete the massive monument serves no real purpose.  The outer surface is adorned with a veneer of marble panels and a facade of functionless post and lintel engaged columns in the Corinthian style.  Above the barrel vaulted arch, on both sides of the monument, are inscriptions in Roman capital letters.  Inside the two sides of the arche's tunnel are two relief sculptures. Iconography:  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.  In this case the victory of Titus over the Jews.
Context:  Titus is the same emperor who completed the construction of the Colosseum.  Arches like this were all over Rome and served as honorific gateways over main roads in the city.  This particular arch was dedicated by Domitian to commemerate his predessesor's victories.  Originally there would have been a massive sculpture of four horse chariot and driver.  Stokstad (254) gives and excellent contemporary account of the reasons why and circumstances surrounding the creation of this arch.

 
relief in the passageway of the
Arch of Titus, Rome c 81 CE. 
Concrete and white marble
50' tall


Bottom image is a reconstruction 
of what this frieze looked like
Form:  This relief sculpture is very naturalistic and uses relief in order to create a sense of space and volume.  Notice the inclusion of the arch in the releif at the far right is depicted at an angle almost as if the sculptors were using linear perspective.  Space is also created through size scale relationships, by overlapping the figures and by making the figures and objects in the background lower relief than those in the foreground.  The figures are naturalistically depicted and in some instances the drapery almost looks like the wet drapery style that dominates Greek art. Iconography:  This is clearly a victory scene as is evidenced by the processional carrying the spoils as they enter a triumphal arch at the left.  The icon of Jewish victory and resistance, the menorah, meaning is changed by a its change of context.  The Roman soldiers who carry another peoples' cultural icon are demonstrating their own victory by stealing it and exhibiting as a trophy.
Context: Roman soldiers carrying off the Menorah, the even-branched candelabra, and other spoils from the Temple in Jerusalem. The Roman general Titus had the Temple destroyed (7O CE) and the Jewish population expelled. Jews began to settle throughout the Roman Empire, along the coast of North Africa, in Italy and Spain, along the river Rhine and in France.
quote from
http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/beyond-the-pale/eng_captions/04-1.html

 
The Arch of Constantine -312-315 CE
Rome, Italy, Late Roman Empire
Form:  The overall form of the monument is similar to the Arch of Titus however, there are two additional arches on either side of the main one and the ornamentation of the monument is stolen from other monuments throughout Rome.  Another aspect of the ornamentation that this shares with Titus's monument is the use of post and lintel architectural components strictly for ornamental reasons.  For eaxmple, the columns do not support an entablature and are placed on pedestals of there own as if to honor them like a sculpture. Iconography:  The increased size of this monument is a way of out doing Constantine's predessors.  The reapporopriation of the round panels above the side arches is also a way of expressing power, even over the past.  Professor Farber comments,
Significantly it was decided to include on the Arch of Constantine reliefs that were taken from monuments made for earlier Emperors. There is a relief in the passageway under the primary arch that is from the time of the Emperor Trajan, while the roundels or medallions were made for the Emperor Hadrian. The oblong reliefs in the attic come from the time of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Scholars used to argue that this use of "spolia" from earlier buildings was a good indication of artistic decline. More recently scholars have seen this inclusion of earlier monuments as a way of linking Constantine to the great emperors of the past.
http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/
arth212/late_antiquity_imp_image.html
Context: The arch was was erected in honor of the first Christian Emperor's victory over Maxentius at Soxa Rubra (the Milvian Bridge) in 312 AD, just north of Rome.  Constantine then established the city of Constantinople that is now the city of Istanbul in Turkey.  Constantine was first Christian emperor although he did not get baptized until he was on his deathbed and he is also the emperor who legalized Christianity with his Edict of Milan c 318 CE.

 
 


According to Professor Farber,
A monument documenting the shift in conception of Imperial power is represented by the Triumphal Arch built by the Senate to commemorate Constantine's defeat of his rival Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 A.D. It is hard to underestimate the importance of Constantine in the narrative of Medieval art. His patronage and ultimate conversion to Christianity were pivotal in the transformation of Christianity as a religion on the margins to Christianity as integral to imperial power. An important theme we will be developing in the first part of this course is the Christianization of Rome and the Romanization of Christianity. It is interesting to note that on the Arch that was constructed adajacent to the Colosseum, near the formal center of old Rome, there are no references to Christianity. There is not even a reference to the famous vision of the monogram of Christ that Constantine was believed to have seen before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. It is important to see how this monument justifies Constantine's power by linking him to the Roman Imperial past. In its form as a Triumphal Arch it links Constantine to the tradition of this form going back to monuments like the Arch of Titus constructed after 81 A.D. http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth212/late_antiquity_imp_image.html

detail Arch of Constantine 312-315 CE Rome,
The top Roundels depict Hadrian Hunting Boar 
and Sacrificing to Apollo sculpted c 130-130 CE
the bottom is of Constantine addressing the Senate
c 312-315   3' tall
Late Roman Empire
Form:  The relief sculptures on the exterior of the arch are rather dispaparite in style.  The circular medallions contain very naturalistic sculptures, some standing in contrapposto and wearing the wet drapery style.  The frieze beneath these medalions are of a completely different style.  The bodies are disproportionate.  The heads are too large and the drapery of their clothing does little to reveal the anatomy it covers.  The doll like figures lack contrapposto.  Unlike the relief from the arch of Titus, this relief does not make any real attempt to create space except fro the architectural elements which are rendered very unimaginatively.  Iconography:  Gardner suggests that the theft and recarving of the faces of the roundels was an attempt to associate Constantine with the "good" emperors of earlier periods.  For some art historians the lower frieze, which represents Constantine addressing the senate represents the decline of the Roman empire at least artistically.  The  lack of realism could represent the new political and theological climate of Rome.  The image is much more diagramatic and straightforward.  The viewer has all the iconography placed before them in one single unobstructed view. Constantine is placed in the center of the symmetrically designed composition which puts him in the most important position.  Perhaps this new digramatic style is related to the second commandment and its law against images.  It has also been suggested that the larger heads and reduction of naturalistic elements relates to the new Christian ideal of deemphasizing the physical world and reemphasizing the spiritual and mental.
 

According to Professor Farber,
Notice how Constantine has the same ad locutio gesture we observed in the comparison of the Augustus of Primaporta and the Colossus of Barletta. In the language of Roman Imperial art, this gesture clearly identifies the active subject of the image. The ritualized nature of the gesture also associates the bearer of the gesture to the tradition of Roman Imperial power. This connection to past power that we have already noted in the plan of the arch as a whole is further reitterated in specific details of this relief. It has been noted that the two seated figures at either end of the rostrum are representations of sculptural portraits of Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. The three highest figures in the relief are, thus, Constantine (had his head survived) and the two second century predecessors. The five columns behind the rostrum make a reference to the link between Constantine and his immediate predecessor Diocletian. In 303 A.D. a monument commemorating the tenth year of Diocletian's rule was constructed at the rostrum. The monument was composed of five columns with the central one topped by an image of Jupiter, flanked by others topped by images of the four Tetrarchs. This relief thus places Constantine at the center of Rome both physically and historically. http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth212/late_antiquity_imp_image.html
Context:  These medallions are probably sculptures that were transplanted from a monument created in the first century AD.
 

The Parthenon 

Basilican plan for the original St. Peters
The components of the Basilican Style of Building
(please see Stokstad page 298 Elements of Architecture: Basilica-Plan and Central-Plan Churches) The basilican plan is initially a wide open space that was designed to accomodate large group of people.  It formed in a square or rectangular form that contains a large inner space.  At one end of the basilica is usually an apse which is a large half circle mebedded in the wall and usually contains a statue or altar.  Notice it's similarity to the plan of the Parthenon's plan.  For Christian or Catholic basilican plans, like the Parthenon, St. Peters is also oriented towards the east.  For liturgical purposes the apse always faces east.  The apse was also important because it housed the Christian relics and the altar was placed in the apse. 
"Basilica" is a Greek word meaning "honored" and it is possible that for this reason one of the most used architectural form is the basilican plan which was used in the design of Christian churches. 
The parts of the basilica are:
apse- the area where the relics are stored and where the altar stands.  The term literally means "half wheel."
nave- this is the center of the structure.  The word has its root in the Greek or Latin word meaning ship.
atrium- this is a courtyard/waiting area.  It serves as a type of buffer zone between the secular and spiritual world.  It is a carry over from Greek and Roman home architecture.

 
 
The Basilica of Constantine, Rome Italy
Begun by Maxentius in 306-310, 
and completed by Constantine in 312-337
Late Roman


Context:  This section is quoted fromhttp://www2.trincoll.edu/~mzimmerm/zimmerman/Chapter4/bascon.html The Basilica of Constantine was begun by his predecessor, Maxentius, in 306 AD, directly at the start of his rule, but which again was not completed until after Constantine had seized power, so therefore it bears his name. Originally, the basilica opened up onto the Colosseum, but under Constantine, this was changed, and the entrance was placed facing the Sacra Via. Combining both Hadrianic and pre-Hadrianic architecture, the basilica retains the same basic plan as does the Basilica Julia, but with a series of barrel vaults on both sides, and two large apses, perpendicular to one another, for the seating of the judges.
Form:  This massive building is built in a typical baslican floor plan but departs from that schema in its use of barrel vaults over the sde aisles and intersecting groin vaults over the nave. This sdesign is in some ways closer to the design of the Baths of Caralla 216 CE. The raised nave allows light to fill the vaulted area and the use of the groin vaults creates a large open space.  This basilloica also departs from the basic basilican plan because it has two apses because the entrance was moved.  The interior surfaces of the walls were lavishly decorated with veneers of different colored marble and mosaics.
Iconography: The basilican form is a time honored form that derives its intitial inspiration from the Parthenon.  The the word basilica is Greek and means "honored."  Constantine's victory is symbolized by fact that this building was no longer in Maxentius's possesion.  His redocoration and altering of the structure is also a symbolic gesture made concrete by the structure itself..

Context: In 313 AD the Roman general, Constantine, possibly sensing the change in religious climate, had a miraculous dream and after his victory over Maxentius he adopted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire with his "edict of Milan."  After this happened, Roman Christians naturally adopted the traditional Roman art and architectural styles for use in the worship of Christianity. "Basilica" is a Greek word meaning "honored" and it is possible that for this reason one of the most used architectural form is the basilican plan which was used in the design of Christian churches.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Old St. Peter's Basilica was the 
first basilica of St. Peter's in Rome, a five-aisled basilican-plan church with apsed transept at the west end that was begun between 326 and 333 at the order of the Roman emperor Constantine and finished about 30 years later. The church was entered through an atrium called Paradise that enclosed a garden with fountains. From the atrium there were five doors into the body of the church. The nave was terminated by an arch with a mosaic of Constantine, accompanied by St. Peter, presenting a model of his church to Christ. On the clerestory walls, each pierced by 11 windows, were frescoes of the patriarchs, prophets, and Apostles and scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Old St. Peter's was torn down in the early 16th century and replaced by New St. Peter's 
Form:  Although the overall plan and rising windowed nave adhere to the standard Roman basilican plan, the main differences between St. Peters Basilica and Constantine's were the materials and the technology.  Old St. Peter's Basilica was not as lavish.  Initially it had a post and beam design made of timbers rather than the groin vault and stone and concrete arches used in Constantine's basilica

Parts of an Early Christian Basilica
(quoted directly from Dr. Farber's Website) 1) Propylaeum- the entrance building of a sacred precinct, whether church or imperial palace.
2) Atrium- in early Christian, Byzantine, and medieval architecture, the forecourt of a church; as a rule enveloped by four colonnaded porticoes.
3) Narthex- the entrance hall or porch proceding the nave of a church.
4) Nave- the great central space in a church. In longitudinal churches, it extends from the entrance to the apse (or only to the crossing if the church has one) and is usually flanked by side aisles.
5) Side Aisle- one of the corridors running parallel to the nave of a church and separated from it by an arcade or colonnade.
6) Crossing- the area in a church where the transept and the nave intersect.
7) Transept- in a cruciform church, the whole arm set at right angles to the nave. Note that the transept appears infrequently in Early Christian churches. Old St. Peter's is one of the few example of a basilica with a transept from this period. The transept would not become a standard component of the Christian church until the Carolingian period.
8) Apse- a recess, sometimes rectangular but usually semicircular, in the wall at the end of a Roman basilica or Christian church. The apse in the Roman basilica frequently contained an image of the Emperor and was where the magistrate dispensed laws. In the Early Christian basilica, the apses contained the "cathedra" or throne of the bishop and the altar.
9) Nave elevation- term which refers to the division of the nave wall into various levels. In the Early Christian basilica the nave elevation usually is composed of a nave colonnade or arcade and clerestory.
10) Clerestory- a clear story, i.e. a row of windows in the upper part of a wall. In churches, the clerestory windows above the roofs of the side aisles permit direct illumination of the nave.

The Catacomb of St. Peters and Marcellinus -
200 CE Rome, Italy
Early Christian
(go here for more detail views)
 
Form:  The catacombs were a series of underground tunnels dug into the soft volcanic rock beneath Rome.  Some of the tunnels were connected as an overall network system.  The small spaces were most often used as tombs in which the bodies were kept in crypts and in niches carved directly into the rock.  The cells or rooms for these tombs were often decorated with frescoes although in terms of the illusionistic and over all quality of the frescoes were not as fine as those found in Pompeii. This particular fresco is on the ceiling of one of the chambers.  It is a symmetrical design that fits the contours of the ceiling.  The over all shape is a medallion (circular form) which contains another circle.  Radiating from the inner circle is a cruciform (cross like) design that terminates in lunettes (small half circles).  Each of the empty spaces contained by the design hold a scene or a figure.  The figures all stand the orant pose but those inside the half circles and the central circle contain slightly different scenes.
The central circle contains a naturalistically rendered image of a figure standing in contrapposto pose.  His over all pose follows the schema of the sculpture of the Moscophoros.   The surrounding lunettes show scenes from the story of Jonah and the Whale. 
Iconography:  The imagery is neither wholly Roman, Jewish or Christian but instead a kind of composite of the best qualities of each.  The contrapposto pose and nude figures done in the Roman style demonstrate that the the ideas of kalos and beauty from the Greek classic periods have not completely faded.  The image of the youth carrying the lamb, is a borrowing from the Moscophoros image dealing with a sacrificial lamb but also refers to the Jewish and Christian ideas concerning King David from the Old Testament as a foreshadowing of the images of Christ as the "Good Shepherd."  The use of Old Testament themes to illustrate New Testament stories is referred to by Stokstad as typological exegesis.  (Go to Stokstad page 293 for more on Jonah)
Context:  Stokstad has an excellent description of the context that these frescoes would have been found in on page 293.
 
 

Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus c359 CE
4x8' marble, St. Peter's, Rome Italy
Early Christian Culture and Period
Form:  The overall form of the casket is almost like that of a symmetrical classical or Roman building.  There are Composite columns, arches, entablatures and pediments.  Each of the scenes is contained within its own architectural niche.  Each of the individual scenes is then also structured into a symmetrical or semi symmetrical composition.  The fairly high relief figures, although a bit more classical in their depiction of contrapposto and drapery are still proportioned very much like the figures on the Arch of Constantine.  Iconography: The use of classical orders and Roman arches is a link with the culture of Rome and a way of making the new Christian iconography "classic."  The scenes chosen are a selection of the stories of both the Old and New Testaments.  The purpose of placing these scenes together  is a typological exegesis.  Each of the Old Testament scenes is designed to link refer to the newer ideas expressed in the New Testament.  (See Stokstad The Iconography of Jesus pg 307 and the text on page 308-9.)
This is a diagram of the scenes.
Abraham and Isaac Peter Arrested for Preaching after Jesus's Death Christ Enthroned Christ before Pontius Pilate Christ before Pontius Pilate
Misery of Job Fall of Man
(Adam and Eve)
Christ's Entry into Jerusalem Daniel in the Lion's Den St. Paul Lead to His Martyrdom
Here's an example of one of these typologies from the Old Testament of the Jewish/Christian Bible that relates to a message or theme in the New Testament.   The story of "Daniel in the Lion's Den" is a story in which a Jew's faith was being challenged because he would not bow down to a Persian king.  He was thrown into a lion's den but because he put his faith in "god" he was not harmed.  His faith protected him and he was rewarded.  This is similar to how Jesus' faith was tested when he was before Pontius Pilate.
As in the frieze on the Arch of Constantine, these images are much more diagramatic and straightforward.  The viewer has all the iconography placed before them in one single unobstructed view. Jesus, in the center panel, is placed in the center of the symmetrically designed composition which puts him in the most important position.  Perhaps this new digramatic style is related to the second commandment and its law against images.  It has also been suggested that the larger heads and reduction of naturalistic elements relates to the new Christian ideal of deemphasizing the physical world and reemphasizing the spiritual and mental.
Context:  Junius Bassus was a city prefect (a minor official in the Roman government) who converted just before his death.  The practice of converting on one's death bed or shortly before one's death was a fairly common practice and a way of insuring that, just in case the Christian's were right, that the after life would be pleasant.
Some messy contextual notes on Catholicism/Christianity 300-1500 AD
  • Catholic: means “universal”
  • Monotheistic
  • Triad of Three cultures ideas: Roman, Greek, Jewish
  • Greeks and Romans gave it:
    • Plays for morality,
    • Symbols of dome and circle (iconography),
    • Saints, Bldgs.,
    • State religion w/ pope @ head, roads, technology, laws, language
  • Jews gave it:
    • monotheistic faith,
    • Bible (Old Testament),
    • rules,
    • 10 Commandments
  • Vulgate: common version of the Bible
  • Christ: means “annointed”, blessed one
  • Philosophical points: it’s all about love, be nice to one another, forgiveness, guilt
  • So popular b/c: afterlife is rewarding, Jesus and apostles from lower class so people relate, rulers are dictators, (antiwar, afterlife, forgiveness).
  • Edict of Milan: legalized Christianity
  • Nicene Creed: standard Catholic (universal) philosophy
    • Jesus was not a prophet but actually God on Earth
    • Holy Trinity is three beings all of same vehicle;
      1. God- creator,
      2. Jesus- incarnate flesh,
      3. Ghost- spirit
    • Heretics are people against church; “wrong believers”
  • Structure of Church’s Authority:
    • Jesus’s #1 Main Apostle- Peter (Petrus) (“rock”, 1st pope)
    • “On this rock I will build this church,” said Jesus.
    • Hierarchy:
      1. Pope
      2. Bishops
      3. Cardinals.
        1. Bishops become priests and cardinals are important bishops that elect pope.
  • Old Testament: prophetic book (typological exegesis) leads to life of Christ
    •   Psalms: songs
    •   Prophecy: coming of messiah
    •   Apocrypha: history added on, leads up to birth Christ, family tree
  • New Testament: Gospels (teachings & stories)
    •   Acts: apostles’ stories after life Christ
    •   Letters: lives of apostles
    •   Revelation: apocalypse
       

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Annunciations, Nativities, and Altars in the Early Renaissance Pisano, Martini, Duccio, Giotto and Lorenzetti


Some of the images you will encounter in this section you have already looked at.  The purpose of this next section is to teach you how the iconography that began in earlier periods is used but also transformed over time.  At the end of this essay you will be presnted with a work of art that you will have to interpret according to the rules that you have learned.
 

 
For this reason, the sections concerning each works formal aspects will be deemphasized.
There are two terms you will need to understand in depth for this next section, nativity and annunciation.
According to the Brittanica,
a nativity is a theme in Christian art depicting the newborn Jesus with the Virgin Mary and other figures, following descriptions of Christ's birth in the Gospels and Apocrypha. An old and popular subject with a complicated iconography, the Nativity was first represented in the 4th century, carved on Early Christian Roman sarcophagi, and was later included with other scenes from Christ's life in monumental decoration of Early Christian basilicas. It was a very important subject for Early Christian art from the 5th century because it emphasized the reality of the incarnation of Christ and the validity of the Virgin's newly established (431) title of Theotokos (Mother of God). The Early Christian version of the Nativity shows the Virgin seated, to emphasize that the birth was painless, and the Child, in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. The two, along with an ox and an ass, are under the roof of a barnlike stable. Usually one or two shepherds, who symbolize the revelation of Christ to the Jews, and often also the Magi--Wise Men from the East who symbolize his revelation to the Gentiles--appear in the scene. By the 6th century another version of the Nativity appeared in Syria, becoming universal in the East throughout the Middle Ages, and in Italy until the late 14th century. It differs from the earlier version, which was retained with some modifications in northwestern Europe, mainly in that it shows the Virgin lying on a mattress, thus ignoring the concept of the painless birth. The Child is again in swaddling clothes in a manger, and the ox and ass are retained, but the stable is located not in a barn but in a cave, as was the custom in Palestine. Angels usually hover above the cave, and Joseph sits outside it. The Magi and the shepherds are often present. The announcement of the miraculous birth to the shepherds by an angel and the journey of the Magi may be depicted simultaneously in the background. Another simultaneous representation--the bathing of the Child by two midwives in the foreground--became standard in Eastern Nativities. It probably derives from classical scenes of the birth of the god Dionysus and is a prefiguration of Christ's Baptism. As the emblem of a major feast day, this version of the Nativity figured prominently, usually in its most complicated form, in the liturgical iconography of Byzantine church decoration.
In the late 14th century an abrupt transformation of the iconography of the Nativity occurred throughout western Europe, including Italy, and a second major version came into being. This was essentially an adoration; the most important change is that the Virgin is depicted no longer in the aftermath of childbirth but kneeling before the Child, who is now nude and luminous and lies not in a manger but on the ground on a pile of straw or a fold of the Virgin's mantle. Often Joseph, too, kneels in adoration. Most of the other details, except the ox and ass, are omitted, especially in earlier works. This version, which seems to have spread from Italy, follows in detail--and in fact almost certainly originates with--an account of a vision by St. Bridget of Sweden, an influential 14th-century mystic. Universally adopted in western Europe by the 15th century, this version is widely depicted in altarpieces and other devotional works.
In the Renaissance, angels reappeared, and the scene was often combined with the adoration of the shepherds, which had recently developed as a separate theme. The midwives were still included occasionally. In the 16th century the Council of Trent outlawed the midwives, the ox and ass, and the bathing of Christ as ignoble, apocryphal, and theologically unsound (the bathing of the Child is inconsistent with the doctrine of a pure and supernatural birth).
In the 17th century a more prosaic representation reappeared, with the Virgin again reclining and holding the Child. After the 17th century, despite the decline of Christian religious art in general, the Nativity remained an important theme in the popular arts.
"Nativity."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 17, 2002.
According to the Brittanica,
the Annunciation in Christianity, the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive a Son of the Holy Spirit to be called Jesus (Luke 1:26-38). The Feast of the Annunciation, one of the principal feasts of the Christian church, is celebrated on March 25 (Lady Day). The first authentic allusions to the feast (apart from the Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries, in both of which it is mentioned) are in acts of the Council of Toledo (656) and of the Trullan Council (692).
Because its significance is much more than narrative, the Annunciation had a particularly important place in the arts and church decoration of the early Christian and medieval periods and in the devotional art of the Renaissance and Baroque. Moreover, because, in Christian doctrine, the event coincides with the Incarnation of Christ, it also represents a prelude to the redemption of the world.
 "Annunciation."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 17, 2002.

 



Nicola Pisano. Nativity, 
detail of Baptistery Pulpit panel: Annunciation, 
Nativity and Annunciation to Shepherds 1259-60
Italian Gothic,
Form:  This is a relief carving.  The relief varies greatly in the height and or depth of each of the figures and objects.  In general the composition is fairly symmetrical yet it is very crowded and almost seems disorganized.  Most of the figures are placed in the foreground of the picture plane and the space created is not very illusionistic.  Space is created by placing the figures in the foreground lower in the picture plane.  In order to show the recession of space, the figures are layered and the placed in a vertical perspective.  The rendering of each of the figures is fairly naturalistic and the clothing, drapery and poses are somewhat reminiscent of carvings such as the this one from the Parthenon's pediment.  Several of the figures, such as the main one which depicts Mary and the child (Jesus) are repeated because several scenes are simultaneously being represented.  This kind of continuous narrative is common in Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance art. 
Iconography:  This is a nativity scene that at first appears to take place in a manger but it also contains the baptism of Christ as well as the annunciation by the angel Gabriel.  The scenes are as follows, far left the angel Gabriel confronts Mary with his annunciation of the birth of Jesus. Mary pulls away towards the center of the scene.  In the upper right hand corner is a manger scene in which Jesus lies in his crib, at the far right are two of the wise men who are missing their heads.  The center of the scene Mary reclines in a pose very reminiscent of the Goddesses from Parthenon.  In the lower left foreground of the image is the baptism of Christ (note he's missing his head too.)

Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Nativity with the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, 1308/1311
This panel in the National Gallery, Washington DC
Form: The rendering of each of the figures is fairly naturalistic and the clothing, drapery and poses are somewhat reminiscent of Nicola Pisano's Nativity, from the Baptistery Pulpit panel and carvings such from the Parthenon's pediment.  Several of the figures, such as the main one which depicts Mary and the child (Jesus) are repeated because several scenes are simultaneously being represented.  This kind of continuous narrative is common in Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance art.  Iconography:  This is a nativity scene that at first appears to take place in a manger but it also contains the baptism of Christ as well.  The center of the scene Mary reclines in a pose very reminiscent of the Goddesses from Parthenon.  In the lower left foreground of the image is the baptism of Christ.
 
 
The figures that flank the main scene serve as a kind of framing device that also update the image and provide transitional figures that bridge the gap between Mary, Jesus and us.  The image of the saint in Catholic art and religious practice is one that symbolizes our possibilities.  The saints were normal people, who in their emulation of Christlike qualities show us what every person is capable of attaining.  When Catholics pray to them they are asking for the saint to intercede with God.  Basically ask God for a favor for us. Context:  It is easy to guess that Duccio probably used, almost directly Nicola Pisano's Nativity, from the Baptistery Pulpit panel as his schema.  This was not considered plagiarism by the Gothic artists but rather a compliment and a continuation of a time honored Byzantine tradition.  Her pose and drapery almost exactly mimic Nicola Pisano's Nativity, from the Baptistery Pulpit panel but the drapery is somewhat less lifelike.  This also demonstrates the desire to continue older visual traditions and to not always have a revolutionary and innovative stylistic break with earlier traditions.
 

Duccio di Buoninsegna, Annunciation 1308-11
Tempera on wood, 43 x 44 cm 
National Gallery, London
predella Maesta Altar
Form: Duccio's Annunciation scene shares some of the same formal devices that the other works we've looked at.  There is no deep space but there is an attempt to relate the figures to the architectural environment they reside in.  There is a consistent sense of chiaroscuro that unifies the picture plane.  The drapery of the figures is beginning to demonstrate a shift of light and shadow (chiaroscuro) that we see in Giotto's work and the drapery begins to actually feel as if the anatomy beneath is revealed in how the drapery hangs on the figures.  The composition is still symmetrical but there is an out door in door feeling to the image.  Mary is framed within an arch like structure. Iconography:  The increased illusionism of the image is symbolic of some of the growing humanistic trends in the Catholic faith that is further evidenced by the philosophies of St. Francis.
Both Mary and Gabriel are dressed in a cross between Byzantine clothing and Roman style togas indicating a  historicism about them.  The colors used for the clothing are expensive and so is the gold leaf in  the background.  Both the figures heads are adorned with halos that are ornamneted with punchwork.
Mary is holding either a book of hours or a Bible.  Brittanica describes a book of hours as a,
devotional book widely popular in the later Middle Ages. The book of hours began to appear in the 13th century, containing prayers to be said at the canonical hours in honour of the Virgin Mary. The growing demand for smaller such books for family and individual use created a prayerbook style enormously popular among the wealthy. The demand for the books was crucial to the development of Gothic illumination. These lavishly decorated texts, of small dimensions, varied in content according to their patrons' desires.
She pulls away slightly from Gabriel as he announces that she will be having the son of god demonstrating a very human response and therefore humanistic perspective.  Above her head flying in through the combination Gothic/Triumphal arch is the holy spirit which is represented as a dove.  This is also a reference to the story of Noah as a typology.  The architectural structure is designed to look like both a Church and a triumphal arch.  This is representative of Mary's house as the house of God and a place of worship.  The scepter Gabriel holds represents triumph. Between the two figures is a vessel filled with lilies.  The vessel refers to Mary's role as the "vessel of God" and the white flowers refer to her purity.  In fact there is a whole iconographic system devoted to flowers and Mary.


Simone Martini, Annunciation, 1333 10'x8' 
(central panel)  Lippo Memmi, (Wings)
Frame 19th C Anonymous
Florence Uffizi
Italian Late Gothic/Early Renaissance
Form: Martini's Annunciation scene shares some of the same formal devices that the other works we've looked at too.  There is no deep space whatsoever in this image because of the use of gold leaf for the background.  The drapery of the figures is beginning to demonstrate chiaroscuro and anatomical structure but in some ways less so then some of the other images.  The composition is perfectly symmetrical and the figures are placed beneath each of the three pointed Gothic style arches. Iconography:  As in the other works the  increased illusionism of the image is symbolic of some of the growing humanistic trends in the Catholic faith that is further evidenced by the philosophies of St. Francis.
Both Mary and Gabriel are dressed in a cross between Byzantine clothing and Roman style togas indicating a  historicism about them.  The colors used for the clothing are expensive and so is the gold leaf in  the background.  Both the figures heads are adorned with halos that are ornamneted with punchwork.  However, there is a bit more in terms of their ornamnetation.  The checked pattern on Gabriel's gown may actually be a reference to either a popular style of fabric design or a type of fabric produced by the patron.  In this way it is a form of "product placement."  Mary is holding a book of hours and like Duccio's painting she pulls away slightly from Gabriel as he makes his announcement. 
A possible reference to the literacy of the wealthy may be the words inscribed in the gold leaf which emenate from Gabriel's mouth, "Hail favored one!  The Lord is with you."
Plant forms figure powerfully into this kind of image.  Between the two figures is a vessel filled with lilies.  The vessel refers to Mary's role as the "vessel of God" and the white flowers refer to her purity.  In fact there is a whole iconographic system devoted to flowers and Mary.  The olive branch is a reference to the story of Noah in which the dove brings an olive branch back to the ark and this is a symbol of God's renewed covenant with Noah.  The wreath of olives around Gabriel's head is a similar refernce both also refers to the Greek and Roman traditions of honoring heroes and athletes with the laurel wreaths on there head as an impromptu crown.  It may also be a reference to Christ's crwon of thorns. The central panel of the altar is in a tripartite division (three part).  This is possibly a reference to the holy trinity which is "in Christian doctrine, the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead," according to the Brittanica.  It also designed to look like the arches in a Gothic church.  In the central bay of the image is an image of the holy spirit surrounded by a series of cherubim in the form of sparrows.  The sparrow comes up quite a bit as a symbol of the word of God and as cherubim.

 

 
Pietro Lorenzetti, The Birth of the Virgin, from Siena Cathedral, 1342.
Tempera and gold on wood, frame partially replaced
6'x5' Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena
Synthesis:  This image represents the birth of Mary.  On the next worksheet you will be asked to pull together all the main ideas that you have learned in the section above and explain how the iconography and form are descended from the images above. Make sure you read Stokstad's analysis of this image!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Harvey Milk

The French Baroque, The Enlightenment and Versailles

The French Baroque, The Enlightenment and Versailles

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Context:  In order to understand the next period of art, the later French Baroque, the Rococo and Neoclassicism, you need to know about a major intellectual movement that occurred during the 17th and 18th centuries known as the "Enlightenment." According to Webster's Dictionary:
 
en.light.en.ment n (1669)
1: the act or means of enlightening: the state of being enlightened
2 cap: a philosophic movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism
--used with the
3 Buddhism: a final blessed state marked by the absence of desire or suffering
The most basic and main concept is that the Enlightenment was a period of time and an intellectual movement in which people began to think that reason was more important than religion or superstition.

The 'Enlightenment' according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica was,

French SIÈCLE DE LUMIÈRES (AGE OF THE ENLIGHTENED), German AUFKLÄRUNG, a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and man were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and the celebration of reason, the power by which man understands the universe and improves his own condition. The goals of rational man were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness. The powers and uses of reason had first been explored by the philosophers of ancient Greece, who discerned in the ordered regularity of nature the workings of an intelligent mind. Rome adopted and preserved much of Greek culture, notably including the ideas of a rational natural order and natural law. Amid the turmoil of empire, however, a new concern arose for personal salvation, and the way was paved for the triumph of the Christian religion. Christian thinkers gradually found uses for their Greco-Roman heritage. The system of thought known as scholasticism, culminating in the work of Thomas Aquinas, resurrected reason as a tool of understanding but subordinated it to spiritual revelation and the revealed truths of Christianity.

The intellectual and political edifice of Christianity, seemingly impregnable in the European Middle Ages, fell in turn to the assaults made on it by humanism, the Renaissance, and the Protestant Reformation. Humanism bred the experimental science of Francis Bacon, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Galileo and the mathematical rigour of René Descartes, G.W. Leibniz, and Sir Isaac Newton. The Renaissance rediscovered much of classical culture and revived the notion of man as a creative being, while the Reformation, more directly but in the long run no less effectively, challenged the monolithic authority of the Roman Catholic church. For Luther as for Bacon or Descartes, the way to truth lay in the application of human reason. Received authority, whether of Ptolemy in the sciences or of the church in matters of the spirit, was to be subject to the probings of unfettered minds.

The successful application of reason to any question depended on its correct application--on the development of a methodology of reasoning that would serve as its own guarantee of validity. Such a methodology was most spectacularly achieved in the sciences and mathematics, where the logics of induction and deduction made possible the creation of a sweeping new cosmology. The success of Newton, in particular, in capturing in a few mathematical equations the laws that govern the motions of the planets gave great impetus to a growing faith in man's capacity to attain knowledge. At the same time, the idea of the universe as a mechanism governed by a few simple (and discoverable) laws had a subversive effect on the concepts of a personal God and individual salvation that were central to Christianity.

Inevitably, the method of reason was applied to religion itself. The product of a search for a natural--rational--religion was deism, which, although never an organized cult or movement, conflicted with Christianity for two centuries, especially in England and France. For the deist a very few religious truths sufficed, and they were truths felt to be manifest to all rational beings: the existence of one God, often conceived of as architect or mechanician, the existence of a system of rewards and punishments administered by that God, and the obligation of men to virtue and piety. Beyond the natural religion of the deists lay the more radical products of the application of reason to religion: skepticism, atheism, and materialism.

The Enlightenment produced the first modern secularized theories of psychology and ethics. John Locke conceived of the human mind as being at birth a tabula rasa, a blank slate on which experience wrote freely and boldly, creating the individual character according to the individual experience of the world. Supposed innate qualities, such as goodness or original sin, had no reality. In a darker vein, Thomas Hobbes portrayed man as moved solely by considerations of his own pleasure and pain. The notion of man as neither good nor bad but interested principally in survival and the maximization of his own pleasure led to radical political theories. Where the state had once been viewed as an earthly approximation of an eternal order, with the city of man modeled on the city of God, now it came to be seen as a mutually beneficial arrangement among men aimed at protecting the natural rights and self-interest of each.

The idea of society as a social contract, however, contrasted sharply with the realities of actual societies. Thus the Enlightenment became critical, reforming, and eventually revolutionary. Locke and Jeremy Bentham in England, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire in France, and Thomas Jefferson in America all contributed to an evolving critique of the arbitrary, authoritarian state and to sketching the outline of a higher form of social organization, based on natural rights and functioning as a political democracy. Such powerful ideas found expression as reform in England and as revolution in France and America.

The Enlightenment expired as the victim of its own excesses. The more rarefied the religion of the deists became, the less it offered those who sought solace or salvation. The celebration of abstract reason provoked contrary spirits to begin exploring the world of sensation and emotion in the cultural movement known as Romanticism. The Reign of Terror that followed the French Revolution severely tested the belief that man could govern himself. The high optimism that marked much of Enlightenment thought, however, survived as one of the movement's most enduring legacies: the belief that human history is a record of general progress.



Copyright © 1994-2001 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Some Enlightenment Figures and Ideas Rene Descartes 1596
Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his "Social Contract"
Benjamin Franklin 1770's
Thomas Jefferson
Sir Isaac Newton 1642-1726
Denis Diderot 1713-1784
Adam Smith
David Hume
Madame de Stael
Madame Marie-Therese Rodet Geoffrine
Madame Pompadour
Catherine the Great
The Salon

The Enlightenment
 
Although they both lived and worked in the late 17th century, Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke were the true fathers of the Enlightenment. Newton was the last of the scientific geniuses of the age, and his great Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687; Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) was the culmination of the entire movement that had begun with Copernicus and Galileo--the first great physical synthesis based upon the application of mathematics to nature in every detail. The basic idea of the authority and autonomy of reason, which dominated all philosophizing in the 18th century, was, at bottom, the consequence of Newton's work. Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Galileo, and Descartes--scientists and methodologists of science--performed like men urgently attempting to persuade nature to reveal her secrets. Newton's comprehensive mechanistic system made it seem as if at last she had done so. It is impossible to exaggerate the enormous enthusiasm that this assumption kindled in all of the major thinkers of the 18th century from Locke to Kant. The new enthusiasm for reason that they all instinctively shared was based not upon the mere advocacy of propagandists like Descartes and Leibniz but upon the conviction that for the intellectual conquest of the natural world reason had really worked.
Encyclopædia Britannica,
One of the greatest of these Enlightenment thinkers was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, according to the Brittanica, Rousseau was,
 
b. June 28, 1712, Geneva, Switz.
d. July 2, 1778, Ermenonville, France
French philosopher, writer, and political theorist whose treatises and novels inspired the leaders of the French Revolution and the Romantic generation. Rousseau was the least academic of modern philosophers and in many ways was the most influential. His thought marked the end of the Age of Reason. He propelled political and ethical thinking into new channels. His reforms revolutionized taste, first in music, then in the other arts. He had a profound impact on people's way of life; he taught parents to take a new interest in their children and to educate them differently; he furthered the expression of emotion rather than polite restraint in friendship and love. He introduced the cult of religious sentiment among people who had discarded religious dogma. He opened men's eyes to the beauties of nature, and he made liberty an object of almost universal aspiration.
One of the places where men were able to meet and talk about philosophy and politics was the French Salon. Which was a weekly meeting that was often run in the apartments of an aristocratic or connected French woman.  "However, Jean Jacques Rousseau, a brilliant French philosopher and writer of the 18th century, did not believe that exchanges of social and intellectual discourse could possibly take place in salons led by women. He argued that in the salons where women dominated, men would easily fall into the trap of trying to please the women. In such a setting, how could any serious conversation take place?"
(http://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255-s01/paris_homework/Salon_negative_view.html)
 
 
"Imagine what can be the temper of the soul of a man who is uniquely occupied with the important business of amusing women and who spends his entire life doing for them what they ought to do for us?" ~Rousseau
(Goodman, Dena. Enlightenment Salons: The Convergence of Female and Philosophie Ambitions. (1994)  www.worc.ac.uk/chic/suffrage/document/goodman.htm)

 

Van Loo Portrait of  Madame Pompadour
The role of women during the Enlightenment changed radically.  Women such as Madame de Stael, Madame Marie-Therese Rodet Geoffrine, Madame Pompadour and Catherine the Great of Russia ran regularly scheduled "Salons" which were gathering places for the new intellectuals of the 18th century.  Often in this role women were able to influence if not orchestrate important philosophical and political events.  One such powerful woman was Madame Pompadour.
MADAME DE POMPADOUR, 
b. Dec. 29, 1721, Paris
d. April 15, 1764, Versailles, Fr. 
also called JEANNE-ANTOINETTE LE NORMANT D'ÉTIOLES influential mistress (from 1745) of the French king Louis XV and a notable patron of literature and the arts.  Early years.
Her parents were on the fringes of a class gaining in importance, speculators in the world of finance. Some of these people made immense fortunes, but many ended in the gutter if not in prison. Her father, François Poisson, involved in a black-market scandal, had to flee the country in 1725; his beautiful wife and two small children were then looked after by a more fortunate colleague, Le Normant de Tournehem. Both children were clever, and the girl was fascinating; she was educated to be the wife of a rich man. In those days rich men, even if they came from a low class, were interested in art and literature, and they expected their wives to share these interests.
By the time Mademoiselle Poisson was of an age to marry, she could hold her own in any society and had made friends with many distinguished men, including Voltaire. Le Normant de Tournehem arranged a match for her with his own nephew, Charles-Guillaume Le Normant d'Étioles, a rising young man; they had a little girl, Alexandrine. Madame d'Étioles became a shining star of Parisian society and was admired by the King himself. In 1744 Louis XV's young mistress, the Duchesse de Châteauroux, died suddenly. She was soon replaced by Madame d'Étioles, who obtained a legal separation from her husband and was created marquise de Pompadour.







Nineteenth-century historians thought that Madame de Pompadour had complete ascendancy over Louis XV. These post-Revolution writers were concerned with portraying the Bourbon monarchs as poor creatures; it is now generally admitted that Louis XV was a much more able man than he has been painted. Shy and introspective, he had difficulty in communicating with people whom he did not know well. Madame de Pompadour acted as his private secretary, but, although she gave the orders, the decisions were made by the King. She began her reign at Versailles modestly. She was lodged in a few rooms under the roof; she set out to make herself agreeable to all those who counted for anything in the palace, beginning with Queen Marie (Maria Leszczynska). Marie could hardly have been a more unsuitable wife for the handsome, artistic, sensual, and pleasure-loving Louis XV. Eight years older than he, she was preoccupied with the welfare of her father (a deposed king of Poland), with childbearing, and with religion. After giving birth to an heir to the throne (and eight or nine other children between 1727 and 1737), she let the King understand that she had no wish to remain sexually intimate with him.

After five romantic years in her attic, Madame de Pompadour moved downstairs to a regal apartment. Louis XV now began to take other mistresses, but Madame de Pompadour was more firmly established than ever before; favours, promotions, and privileges could be obtained only through her good offices.

Artistic and political collaboration with Louis.

Her collaboration with the King was twofold, artistic and political. The artistic side was wholly successful. On her suggestion, her brother was appointed director of the King's buildings and created marquis de Marigny; the brother, the sister, and Louis XV, working in perfect harmony, planned and built the École Militaire and the Place Louis XV (now the Place de la Concorde) in Paris, most of the palace of Compiègne, the Petit Trianon Palace at Versailles, a new wing at the palace of Fontainebleau, and the exquisite Château de Bellevue, as well as many pavilions and summer houses. He and his mistress patronized all forms of decorative art: painters, sculptors, cabinetmakers, and craftsmen worked under the royal eye; the famous porcelain factory was built at Sèvres. Madame de Pompadour's 20 years of power marked the very apogee of taste in France. The protector of most of the authors and the editor of the Encyclopédie, she would have liked to do for literature what she did for the arts, but the King had no literary interests and disliked the intellectuals whom he knew.

The political collaboration between the King and his mistress was much less successful than the artistic, mainly because the French politicians and generals of the day were of such poor calibre. The Duc de Choiseul, by far the ablest of the ministers, was Madame de Pompadour's protégé. He was brought in to implement the famous Reversal of Alliances, which allied France with its old enemy Austria against the German Protestant principalities. This was a statesmanlike conception, but it was unpopular and led to the Seven Years' War, disastrous to France. Frederick the Great crushed the huge, incompetently led French and Austrian armies, while the English were driving the French out of Canada. All these defeats were laid at the door of Madame de Pompadour. She fell prey to melancholy, and soon after the end of the war she died, in the spring of 1764, probably of cancer of the lung, in her apartment at Versailles. One of her last actions was to get Louis XV's support for the revision of the Calas case, a gross miscarriage of justice in which Voltaire was interested. Voltaire said of her:

I mourn her out of gratitude . . . Born sincere, she loved the King for himself; she had righteousness in her soul and justice in her heart; all this is not to be met with every day.

Encyclopædia Britannica
The Last Half of the Baroque
French Art 1700 - c1790
The French Baroque, The Enlightenment and Versailles

The movie the "Man in the Iron Mask" was filmed at Vaux le Vicomte which for the film producers was a low rent Versailles.  But the painting at right was an important anachronistic prop!

Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Portrait of Louis XIV (14th) 
1701Oil on canvas 9'2''x7''
Located in Louvre, Paris

Velázquez' 1599-1660 
Pope Innocent X (the Tenth) 1650
oil on canvas Spanish, Baroque 

Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Portrait of Louis XIV (14th) 
1701 Oil on canvas 9'2''x7''
Located in Louvre, Paris
These two paintings are both Baroque renderings of important leaders from the 1600's.  One of them represents the older more theological traditions of Europe and the other represents the "Enlightenment," although after learning about him you may find that he really wasn't.  The way in which they are portrayed are important clues as to how each of these rulers ruled there people and how they saw the world.  You will be given an assignment in which you will be asked to compare and contrast these two paintings and come up with some conclusions as to how each ruler is portrayed formally and iconographically.  You will be asked what this might mean about each ruler and the manner in which they governed.

VELÁZQUEZ 1599-1660 
Pope Innocent X (the Tenth) 1650
oil on canvas Spanish, Baroque 
 Innocent X 
 b. May 7, 1574, Rome d. Jan. 7, 1655, Rome original name GIOVANNI BATTISTA PAMPHILI, OR GIAMBATTISTA PAMFILI, pope from 1644 to 1655. Pamphili was a church judge under Pope Clement VIII and a papal representative at Naples for Pope Gregory XV. He was made ambassador to Spain and cardinal (1626) by Pope Urban VIII, whom he succeeded on Sept. 15, 1644. Having been supported by cardinals who had opposed his predecessor, Innocent reversed Urban's policies, as demonstrated by his condemnation of the Peace of Westphalia--the collective name for the settlements of 1648, which brought to an end the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch and the German phase of the Thirty Years' War and alienated Catholic lands. But he reigned at a time when popes were no longer consulted by nations in settling war or making peace, and his protest went unnoticed by both sides.  Innocent's relationship with his relatives was questionable, for he was guilty of nepotism, and much of his pontificate was dominated by his avaricious sister-in-law, Olimpia Maidalchini. Innocent supported the Spanish Habsburgs--a branch of one of the great sovereign dynasties of Europe--by refusing to recognize the independence of Portugal, then at war with Spain. In Rome, Innocent attacked Urban's relatives, the Barberini, for extortion and confiscated their property. He clashed with France when the Barberini took refuge in Paris with Cardinal Mazarin, whose threat to invade Italy forced Innocent to yield. In theological matters he intervened in the quarrel between the Jesuits and the Jansenists and in a bull of 1653 condemned five propositions concerning the nature of grace as interpreted by Bishop Cornelius Jansen, the founder of Jansenism. A century of controversy with the Jansenists ensued, which was particularly damaging to the French Church. By the time of Innocent's death, papal prestige had seriously declined. 
 "Innocent X."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   December 26, 2002. 
Important clue:  The Vatican is where Pope Innocent lived and worked.



Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Portrait of Louis XIV (14th) 
1701 Oil on canvas 9'2''x7''
Located in Louvre, Paris
(See page 757)
 Louis XIV 
 b. Sept. 5, 1638, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Fr. d. Sept. 1, 1715, Versailles byname LOUIS THE GREAT, LOUIS THE GRAND MONARCH, OR THE SUN KING, French LOUIS LE GRAND, LOUIS LE GRAND MONARQUE, OR LE ROI SOLEIL, king of France (1643-1715) who ruled his country, principally from his great palace at Versailles, during one of its most brilliant periods and who remains the symbol of absolute monarchy of the classical age. Internationally, in a series of wars between 1667 and 1697, he extended France's eastern borders at the expense of the Habsburgs and then, in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), engaged a hostile European coalition in order to secure the Spanish throne for his grandson. Throughout his long reign Louis XIV (1643-1715) never lost the hold over his people he had assumed at the beginning. He worked hard to project his authority in the splendid setting of Versailles, to depict it in his arrogant motto: "Nec pluribus impar" ("None his equal"), and in his sun emblem. He buttressed his authority with the divine-right doctrines elaborated by Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet and proclaimed it across Europe by force of arms. Yet he made surprisingly few institutional or administrative changes in the structure of government. Like Richelieu, Louis used the system that he had inherited and adapted it to suit his own personality and outlook. This practice may be seen first in his attitude to the machinery of central government.
. . . the king never allowed the great nobles a similar opportunity for revolt. Versailles became a place of surveillance for pensioned noblemen and their families whose only serious occupation was the traditional one of arms, for the pursuit of which Louis provided ample opportunities. The second rebellious group in the Frondes, the members of the Parlement of Paris, were likewise subjected to stringent controls. In 1673 Louis produced regulations stipulating that the court's remonstrances against royal enactments sent to it could in future only be made after the laws concerned had been registered. By this device the king effectively muzzled the magistrates' criticisms of royal policy. It was equally his intention to overcome the delaying tactics of the provincial courts, especially those situated close to vulnerable frontiers.
 "The age of Louis XIV."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   December 26, 2002. 
Important clue:  Versailles is where Louis XIV lived and worked.


mansard roof
1631
Philibert Le Roy: Started Remodeling 
Palace of Versailles 1668-1685
Louis Le Vau: Decorated Facade
Charles Lebrun: Architect/Decorator Coordinated all the decorations
Andre Le Nôtre: Gardens
Jules Hardouin Mansard: Architect
Nicolas Fouquet: Treasurer According to the Brittanica Versailles was,
The original residence, built from 1631 to 1634, was primarily a hunting lodge and private retreat for Louis XIII (reigned 1610-43) and his family. Under the guidance of Louis XIV (1643-1715), it was transformed (1661-1710) into an immense and extravagant complex surrounded by stylized English and French gardens; every detail of its construction glorified the king. The additions were designed by such renowned architects as Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Robert de Cotte, and Louis Le Vau. Charles Le Brun oversaw the interior decoration. Landscape artist André Le Nôtre created symmetrical French gardens that included ornate fountains with "magically" still water, expressing the power of humanity--and, specifically, the king--over nature. Declared the official royal residence in 1682 and the official residence of the Court of France on May 6, 1682, the Palace of Versailles was abandoned after the death of Louis XIV in 1715. In 1722, however, it was returned to its status as royal residence. Further additions were made during the reigns of Louis XV (1715-74) and Louis XVI (1774-92). Following the French Revolutionof 1789, the complex was nearly destroyed; it was subsequently restored by Louis-Philippe (1830-48), but its utility gradually decreased. By the 20th century, though it was occasionally used for plenary congresses of the French parliament or to house visiting heads of state, the primary utility of the palace lay in tourism.
The French Baroque style at Versailles can best be summed up as follows: Almost all the rooms, paintings and ornamentation uses many different kind of materials.  Usually the designs contain almost no straight lines and it use a variety of classical forms.  The designs are also meant to be somewhat theatrical and many of its qualities are meant to be surprising, unexpected and labor intensive.
The palace itself is over a quarter of a mile long
Make sure you read Stokstad "French Baroque Garden Design." page 780 Form:  Overall the gardens and estate take up more than four square miles of land.  Originally the land was swampland and Louis exercising his power as the "Sun King" (He believed he was Apollo on the earth.) drained the swamp and literally transformed the land into a paradise. 
Across this mathematically precise landscape (see Stokstad for an in depth discussion) were radiating pathways that look like star shaped patterns.  There were long flat basins of water as well as fountains that were run by an intricate hydraulic system that ran beneath the gardens. 
Iconography:  The gardens and palace at Versailles are the ultimate expression of the enlightenment and of Louis' power as a monarch.
Enlightenment philosophy is expressed in two ways.  First, it shows man's power over nature.  Literally nature has been transformed through man's enlightened science.  Second, the radiating patterns recall the sun.  Imagery of the sun is often referred to as "solar imagery" and it represents the light of reason.  Solar imagery also represent Louis who referred to himself as Apollo and the "Sun King."
Louis' power is expressed in the solar imagery but also in the cost that was incredible in terms of human lives and it drained the states coffers as well as increased the taxation of the nobles.

Hydraulic Network beneath the gardens

 

The Orangerie
Iconography:  The Orangerie is somewhat portable and extravagant orchard of orange trees.  The orange relates to solar imagery in that in terms of mythology, oranges were considered the "golden apples" of the sun and are therefore linked to Apollo.  Fresh fruit and oranges in particular were also a luxury item and this is an expression of Louis' power just to have them.
The "Basin of Apollo" and the statue of Apollo surrounded by fountains are also part of this solar imagery.  The basin and the statue face east (where the sun rises) and tie in with the myth of Apollo who rides the chariot of the sun across the sky. 
The fountain would have been activated when Louis went for his walks in the morning and the chariot's jets would have made it appear as if the horses on Apollo's great chariot were sending up sprays of water.
Again the control of nature and resources such as water combined with hydraulic technologies would be both an expression of Louis' power and also of enlightenment thinking which was perceived as rationality over disorder.

parterre -- a level and patterned garden

Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Portrait of Louis XIV (14th) 
1701 Oil on canvas 9'2''x7''
Located in Louvre, Paris
Iconography:  If you look closely at Louis' robe you will see the same "flower" on his garment as is sculpted into the topiary of the parterre.  This symbol is called the fleur de lis.  According to the Brittanica,
 
also spelled FLEUR-DE-LYS, OR FLEUR-DE-LUCE ("lily flower"), stylized emblem or device much used in ornamentation and, particularly, in heraldry, long associated with the French crown. Strictly, it consists of three petals or leaves--the central one erect, the other two curving right and left away from it--joined by a horizontal band below which the smaller feet of the three petals are visible. Variant forms are the fleur-de-lis au pied coupé, or au pied nourri, in which the feet are absent or are replaced by a trapezoid pedestal, and the fleur-de-lis remplie, or florencée, or épanouie, with stamens shown between the petals and with the petals themselves divided like flowers at their upper extremities. If a lily is represented naturalistically in heraldry, it is called a lis-de-jardin ("garden lily") to distinguish it from the stylized fleur-de-lis. An emblem similar to the fleur-de-lis is often found in art from the earliest times in many parts of the world and may not always signify a flower. The principal importance of the emblem, however, derives from its long association with the French royal arms. There is a legend that a lily, emblematic of purity, was sent from heaven to the Frankish king Clovis (c. 466-511) at his Baptism, and it has been suggested that the name fleur-de-lis is a pun on fleur de Louis (Louis-Clovis); but perhaps the figure was derived from that of a dove descending, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Louis VI of France used the device both as his seal and on coins; Louis VIII wore blue vestments embroidered with gold lilies at his consecration; and soon a blue shield sprinkled with golden fleurs-de-lis was adopted as the royal arms. Charles V of France in 1376 limited the number of fleurs-de-lis to three, in honour of the Holy Trinity. The association of the device with the French crown led to its inclusion in the arms of numerous gentlemen and municipalities in France, and the English kings during the Hundred Years' War began quartering the French arms with their own to represent their claims to French sovereignty; they were to remain until George III's time. The red lily (fleur-de-lis épanouie) is the badge of Florence in Italy. 
Louis rather liked this emblem because the fleur-de-lis is pun on "fleur de Louis" (Louis-Clovis) fit his name as well.

 

The first floor, the Salon de la Guerre (Room of War)
Form:  The palace at Versailles is arranged symmetrically and utilizes an expensive range of materials.  The multi-media use of materials is somewhat similar to Bernini's use of materials in the Vatican and for his Cornaro Chapel 1647-1652.  Here Mansard and Le Brun have used, leaded crystal, marble, wood parquet flooring (a type of wood inlay) stucco, plaster, gold leaf, bronze and silver backed mirrors.  See Stokstad for more about the mirrors. Iconography:  The materials used are an expression of wealth and power.  The overall symmetrical design and classical vocabulary is a reference to the ideas of rationalism and classical balance however, the theatrical gaudiness of the structure is an attempt to show wealth and power in an almost irrational manner.
The Hall of Mirrors (center) is flanked by the Salon de la Guerre (Room of War) and the Salon de la Paix (Room of Peace).  In a way, this a reference to the Apollonian/Dionysian powers the monarch had.  It is an attempt to show through the design of the building, the powers of the Louis but also that he was a balanced ruler who had both attributes at his disposal.
In the center of the Salon de la Guerre (Room of War) is an equestrian portrait (figure on horseback) of the king.  Notice how large the kings body is in comparison to the horses.  This is very similar to the depictions of the Lapiths and Centaurs from the metopes of the Parthenon and could mean similar things.  Most likely though, the size scale difference between the horse and its rider is to show the supremacy of the king over the animal he controls and to literally make im larger than life.  Notice below the same image occurs in a rejected sculpture by the Italian artist Bernini below.

Lapith Fighting a Centaur,
metope relief from the Doric frieze 
on the south side of the Parthenon c440 BCE
British Museum, London
Clay model and presentation drawing of an 
Equestrian Portrait of King Louis XIV by Bernini These two images were commissioned by Louis of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, however, Bernini after submitting some of his designs to the king was rejected.  Bernini returned to Italy to work on bigger and better projects.

 
Stokstad discusses the "Hall of Mirrors" in some depth.  Check out what she has to say.

 
 

Form:  The King's Bedchamber is located in the center of the palace on the first floor where the windows of the room face the east.   Across the center of the room is ornate low banister that separates the room in two sections. As in every other room in the palace, the multi-media use of materials is somewhat similar to Bernini's use of materials in the Vatican and for his Cornaro Chapel 1647-1652.  The architects have used, leaded crystal, marble, wood parquet flooring (a type of wood inlay) stucco, plaster, gold leaf, bronze and silver backed mirrors.  See Stokstad for more about the mirrors.
Iconography:  The materials used are an expression of wealth and power.  The overall symmetrical design and classical vocabulary is a reference to the ideas of rationalism and classical balance however, the theatrical gaudiness of the structure is an attempt to show wealth and power in an almost irrational manner.
The placement of the room in the overall structure of the building literally is designed to make the king the center of Versailles's universe.  The room faces east so that it meets the rays of the rising sun which is also a reference to Louis' conception of himself as the "Sun King." 
Context:  This room was used also as the starting point of a day in Versailles.  According to Herbert Broderick, a professor at Lehman College in New York, guests would be ushered into the room before sunrise where they would stand way from the bed kept separate by the low banister.  When the sun rose, the curtains of Louis' bed would be thrown back and the sun and the king would both rise.  This kind of theatricality was a common sort of event at Versailles and Louis loved the attention.  Apparently Louis also performed in semi ballet dance performances and was also an accomplished guitarist.


 

Andre Boulle King's Commode 1708 Form:  Notice how this cabinet uses many different kind of materials. 
It exemplifies the French Baroque style found at Versailles because it 
contains almost no straight lines and it uses a variety of classical forms. 
Its style is also somewhat theatrical and many of its qualities are meant 
to be surprising, unexpected and labor intensive.
According to the Brittanica, 
 
Boulle, André-Charles  b. Nov. 11, 1642, Paris, France d. Feb. 29, 1732, Paris Boulle also spelled BOULE, OR BUHL, one of France's leading cabinetmakers, whose fashion of inlaying, called boulle, or buhl, work, swept Europe and was heavily imitated during the 18th and 19th centuries. An architect as well, he also worked in bronze and mosaic and designed elaborate monograms.  As a young man Boulle studied drawing, painting, and sculpture; his fame as the most skillful furniture designer in Paris led to his being chosen, in 1672, by Louis XIV to succeed Jean Macé as royal cabinetmaker at Versailles. Boulle created much of Versailles's furniture. His masterpiece, however, was his decoration of the dauphin's private study with flooring in wood mosaic and extraordinarily detailed paneling and marquetry (1681-83; now destroyed). Allowed also to execute private commissions, he included among his patrons such eminent royalty as King Philip V of Spain, the duke of Bourbon, and the electors of Bavaria and Cologne. 
 
Boulle's style is characterized by elaborate adornment with brass (occasionally engraved) and tortoiseshell marquetry. Although the technique of marquetry was originally used by 16th-century Italian craftsmen, Boulle developed it to its ultimate. He incorporated exotic woods from India and South America. His personal collection of master drawings, from which he extracted much of his inspiration, included works by the 15th-16th-century Italian artist Raphael, the 17th-century Flemish artist Rubens, and the 17th-century Italian engraver Stefano della Bella. On retirement Boulle left his studio to his four sons, among whom were the notable cabinetmakers André-Charles Boulle II (d. 1745) and Charles-Joseph Boulle (d. 1754). His collection was destroyed by fire in 1720; his account of the precious loss reveals an enormous production in addition to what had already gone to other collections. He returned to his studio, directing it until his death. In 1754 Charles-Joseph had hired the brilliant German furniture designer Jean-François Oeben, from whom the Boulle tradition was inherited by Jean-Henri Riesener. His style continued with tremendous success in France during the 18th century and under Napoleon III. Such was its popularity that any piece with some copper inlay on a black or red ground came to be described as buhl.
 "Boulle, André-Charles."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   December 26, 2002.



Baroque French Classicism Poussin and the Rococo
 
Nicolas Poussin,  'Et in Arcadia Ego' 1637-39 
Oil on canvas, 185 x 121 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris
"I am here in Arcadia too"
French, Baroque (Learned to paint in Italy)
Stele of Hegeso
c.410-400 BC, Marble, 5'9"
Athens. Classic Greek
Form:  This painting incorporates intense or saturated colors and a full use of chiaroscuro, linear perspective and atmospheric perspective.  One of the things Poussin is noted for is his use of color and the creation of pastoral or arcadian idealized landscapes. Although the portrayal of landscape is important in Poussin's work, the composition of this image recalls friezes from ancient Roman and Greek buildings such as those found  in such friezes as the Stele of Hegeso c.410-400 BC and on the Ara Pacis and the Parthenon.  As such, it is almost a neoclassical work of art.  Like its classical counterparts, the image is constructed so that most of the figures are placed in the foreground and even though there is the creation of deep space, the background is not as important as the figures.
Poussin's figures are also dressed and modeled after classical figures.  There anatomies are idealized and some of the distortions of the human faced evidenced in such friezes as the Stele of Hegeso c.410-400 BCE.
This painting is Baroque but not Rococo in style and in some ways, because it is so simple and classical, it is almost more Renaissance in form than Baroque.
Iconography:  Overtly this image refers to the classical tradition that artists of the Renaissance and Baroque periods were educated in and revered and this arcadian  scene is more or less a classical image of paradise.  The shepherds in this arcadian scene are leaning over and pointing at the inscription on a sarcophagus (stone coffin).   The inscription on the sarcophagus is also the title of the painting.  'Et in Arcadia Ego' is Latin for "even in Arcadia I am here.  Therefore the sarcophagus serves a similar purpose to the trompe l’oeil skeleton at the bottom of Masaccio's Trinity with Donors, it is a memento mori.
Context:  Poussin is known as one of the greatest French artists who ever lived yet he really did not work or study in France.  Born in France sometime in 1623 or 24 he made his way to Rome and met Giambattista Marino, the Italian court poet to Marie de Médicis and began his real education.  According to the Brittanica, "Marino commissioned Poussin to make a series of mythological drawings illustrating Ovid's Metamorphoses."
At one point in his life (around 1640) he returned to Paris but he really wasn't as successful as he would have liked and he moved back to Italy where he was considered a slightly lower quality painter than his Italian contemporaries.  He then earned his living by taking private commissions and painting fairly smaller works.
Nevertheless, Italy and the Italian penchant for taking on classical themes appealed to Poussin and became a staple of his subject matter.

 
POUSSIN, Nicolas. Echo and Narcissus 1628-30
Oil on canvas, 74 x 100 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris
French Baroque
Form: This shares in many of the same qualities as the painting above.  This painting incorporates intense or saturated colors and a full use of chiaroscuro, linear perspective and atmospheric perspective and the pastoral or arcadian landscape.  The composition of this image recalls friezes from ancient Roman and Greek buildings and Poussin's figures are also dressed and modeled after classical figures.  Iconography: The story that this painting portrays is "Echo and Narcissus" related by Roman poet Ovid in his collection Metamorphoses.  You can read this in Liaisons pages 53-57.
Context: This painting is probably the direct result of Giambattista Marino, the Italian court poet to Marie de Médicis commissioning of Poussin to make a series of mythological drawings illustrating Ovid's Metamorphoses.  Poussin's choice of the story is probably tied more to a Neoplatonic way of thinking about classicism.  The image is a warning rather than an endorsement about romantic love and this is where Poussin differed from his French counterparts interpretation of classical themes.

 

Nicolas Poussin, Bacchanal before a Statue of Pan 1631-33
Oil on canvas, 100 x 142,5 cm. National Gallery, London.
French Baroque
Form: This shares in many of the same qualities as the paintings above.  This painting incorporates intense or saturated colors and a full use of chiaroscuro, linear perspective and atmospheric perspective and the pastoral or arcadian landscape.  The composition of this image recalls friezes from ancient Roman and Greek buildings and Poussin's figures are also dressed and modeled after classical figures.  Iconography: This is the kind of image that Poussin might have seen in Italy either on a classical frieze or a pot.  Even though the image is "classical" it seems to me to be an almost sarcastic or moralizing way in which to depict it.  This painting seems almost to be a warning against hedonism
The theme this story that this painting portrays is a bacchanal
According to Webster's, 
bac.cha.na.lia n, pl bacchanalia [L, fr. Bacchus] (1591) 1 pl, cap: a Roman festival of Bacchus celebrated with dancing, song, and revelry 2: orgy 2, 3 -- bac.cha.na.lian adj or n 

This directly relates to the poem Ode on a Grecian Urn, John Keats in Liaisons pg. 233 and the Greek Tragedy Read the Greek Tragedy The Bacchae by Euripedes in Liaisons pp 58-87. Additional information about this play can be found at 
Read the poems below and see if you can relate it to the paintings above.

 
 
 
La ci darem la mano - Don Giovanni 1787  Mozart
G: La ci darem la mano,
La mi dirai di si!
Vedi, non e lontano
Partiam, ben mio, da qui! Z: Vorrei, e non vorrei;
Mi trema un poco il cor:
Felice, e ver sarei,
Ma puo burlarmi ancor.
G: Vieni nio bel diletto!
Z: Mi fa pieta Masetto.
G: Io changiero tua sorte.
Z: Presto, non son piu forte
.
G: Vieni! vieni! 
La ci darem la mano,
La mi dirai di si!
Z: Vorrei e non vorrei;
Mi trema un poco il cor.
Duetto:
Andiam, andiam mio bene,
A ristorar le pene
D'un innocente amor.

G: Then with your hand in mine, dear,
You'll whisper gently yes!
The castle's lord by yours dear,
Come, and lover bless! Z: I would, and yet I would not
My breast with terror heaves:
It would be the happiest lot,
Unless this lord deceives.
G: Come, then, with me, my beauty!
Z: Masetto claims my pity.
G: I wish to change your state, love.
Z: I yield myself to fate, love.
G: Come, then! Then with your hand
in mine, dear,
You'll whisper gently yes!
Z: I would, and yet I would nor;
My breast with terror heaves.
Together:
Then come, and share with me
the pleasure of innocence and love.



 
 
 
 
 
 

Lekythos with 
"Mistress and Maid" 
theme- c. 440 BC, Athens.
white-ground and 
black-figure decoration 
with touches of tempera,
15" tall 
Museum of Fine Art Boston
Classic, Greece

Muse of Mt. 
Lekythos Vase, 
5th century BCE, 10.5"
Ode on a Grecian Urn
John Keats. 1795-1821 THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal--yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe c 1600 Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feeds their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kittle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold'
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.
The shepherd' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with the and be thy love.
Time drives the flocks from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.
Thy gowns, the shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, the kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten--
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.
But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

ar.ca.di.an adj, often cap (1589) 1: idyllically pastoral; esp: idyllically innocent, simple, or untroubled 2 a: of or relating to Arcadia or the Arcadians b: of or relating to Arcadian Ar.ca.di.an n (1590) 1 often not cap: a person who lives a simple quiet life 2: a native or inhabitant of Arcadia 3: the dialect of ancient Greek used in Arcadia According to the Brittanica,
Modern Greek ARKADHÍA, mountainous region of the central Peloponnesus of ancient Greece. The pastoral character of Arcadian life together with its isolation partially explains why it was represented as a paradise in Greek and Roman bucolic poetry and in the literature of the Renaissance. The region is not exactly coextensive with the present-day nomós (department) of Arkadhía, which extends on the east to the Gulf of Argolis. The capital of the nomos is Trípolis.
he.do.nism n [Gk hedone pleasure; akin to Gk hedys sweet--more at sweet] (1856) 1: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life 2: a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism -- he.do.nist n -- he.do.nis.tic adj -- he.do.nis.ti.cal.ly adv
neo.clas.sic or neo.clas.si.cal adj (1877): of, relating to, or constituting a revival or adaptation of the classical esp. in literature, music, art, or architecture -- neo.clas.si.cism n -- neo.clas.si.cist n or adj
pas.to.ral adj [ME, fr. L pastoralis, fr. pastor herdsman] (15c) 1 a (1): of, relating to, or composed of shepherds or herdsmen (2): devoted to or based on livestock raising b: of or relating to the countryside: not urban c: portraying or expressive of the life of shepherds or country people esp. in an idealized and conventionalized manner <~ poetry> d: pleasingly peaceful and innocent: idyllic 2 a: of or relating to spiritual care or guidance esp. of a congregation b: of or relating to the pastor of a church -- pas.to.ral.ly adv -- pas.to.ral.ness n ²pastoral n (1584) 1 a: a literary work (as a poem or play) dealing with shepherds or rural life in a usu. artificial manner and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of the simple life and the misery and corruption of city and esp. court life b: pastoral poetry or drama c: a rural picture or scene d: pastorale 1b 2: crosier 1 3: a letter of a pastor to his charge: as a: a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese b: a letter of the house of bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be read in each parish
trompe l’oeil - (French: "deceive the eye"), in painting, the representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object. This idea appealed to the ancient Greeks who were newly emancipated from the conventional stylizations of earlier art. Zeuxis, for example, reportedly painted such realistic grapes that birds tried to eat them. The technique was also popular with Roman muralists. Although trompe l’oeil never achieved the status of a major artistic aim, from the early Renaissance on, European painters occasionally fostered illusionism by painting false frames out of which the contents of a still life or portrait appeared to spill, or by creating window-like images suggesting actual openings in the wall or ceiling. (Brittanica)

 
     
Baroque French Classicism and the Rococo 17th to 18th Centuries
 
These two paintings are both Baroque renderings of aristocrats from the 1600 to 1700's.  One of them represents the older more autocratic traditions of Europe but both are the results of the "Enlightenment." The way in which they are portrayed are important clues as to how each of these rulers ruled there people and how they saw the world.  You will be given an assignment in which you will be asked to compare and contrast these two paintings and come up with some conclusions as to how each ruler is portrayed formally and iconographically.  You will be asked what this might mean about each ruler and the manner in which they governed.
Antoine Watteau. L' Indifferent 1716 
Oil on canvas 10''x7'' Located in Louvre, Paris
French Rococo
Hyacinthe Rigaud Louis XIV 1701 
Oil on canvas 9'2''x7'' Located in Louvre, Paris
French Baroque


 

Nicolas Poussin, Bacchanal before a Statue of Pan 1631-33
Oil on canvas, 100 x 142,5 cm. National Gallery, London.
French Baroque
Context:  This painting was executed just before Louis XIV came into his prime.  It represent both formally and iconographically a point of view that is in some ways similar but still different than the Rococo period.  In some ways classical images from the Baroque were a bit more "platonic" in nature than during the Rococo. Form: This painting is Baroque and in some ways it is the model for the paintings of the Rococo period.  This painting incorporates intense or saturated colors and a full use of chiaroscuro, linear perspective and atmospheric perspective and the pastoral or arcadian landscape.  The composition of this image recalls friezes from ancient Roman and Greek buildings and Poussin's figures are also dressed and modeled after classical figures. 
Iconography: The iconography of this painting is also somewhat the model for the Rococo paintings that follow.  It is the kind of image that Poussin might have seen in Italy either on a classical frieze or a pot.  Even though the image is "classical" it seems to me to be an almost sarcastic or moralizing way in which to depict it.  This painting seems almost to be a warning against hedonism
The theme this story that this painting portrays is a bacchanal
According to Webster's, 
bac.cha.na.lia n, pl bacchanalia [L, fr. Bacchus] (1591) 1 pl, cap: a Roman festival of Bacchus celebrated with dancing, song, and revelry 2: orgy 2, 3 -- bac.cha.na.lian adj or n 
The Rococo style is a substyle of the French Baroque and really only exists from about 1716 to the 1770's at which time it fell out of style.  Webster's defines rococo as,
ro.co.co n (1840): rococo work or style ²rococo adj [F, irreg. fr. rocaille rocaille] (1841) 1 a: of or relating to an artistic style esp. of the 18th century characterized by fanciful curved asymmetrical forms and elaborate ornamentation b: of or relating to an 18th century musical style marked by light gay ornamentation and departure from thorough-bass and polyphony 2: excessively ornate or intricate
In terms of its form, the Rococo style is uses a lot of pastel colors which are various pale or light colors, such as powder blue, peaches and pinks.  The brushwork in many Rococo style paintings tends to be feathery and or rough.  Usually the paintings look a bit more like oil sketches and have a rough or unfinished look to them.  The compositions also tend to be a bit looser and not very symmetrical. In terms of iconography and subject matter, Rococo paintings do deal with classical themes but the stories emphasize less dignified themes such as love and romantic indiscretion, in short, the "Dangerous Liaison."   Stokstad points out that one of the main subjects of the Rococo style was the fête galante.
 
¹fete n [ME fete, fr. MF, fr. OF feste--more at feast] (15c) 1: festival 2 a: a lavish often outdoor entertainment b: a large elaborate party ²fete vt fet.ed ; fet.ing (1819) 1: to honor or commemorate with a fete 2: to pay high honor to
fete cham.pe.tre n, pl fetes champetres [F, lit., rural festival] (1774): an outdoor entertainment

Many of the images in Rococo art are borrowed from opera and Commedia dell'arte.  According to the Brittanica,
Around the mid-16th century, there emerged in Italy a lively tradition of popular theatre that fused many disparate elements into a vigorous style, which profoundly influenced the development of European theatre. This was the legendary commedia dell'arte ("theatre of the professionals"), a nonliterary tradition that centred on the actor, as distinguished from the commedia erudita, where the writer was preeminent. Although the precise origins of the commedia dell'arte are difficult to establish, its many similarities with the skills of the medieval jongleurs, who were themselves descendants of the Roman mimes, suggest that it may have been a reawakening of the fabula Atellana, stimulated and coloured by social conditions in Italy during the Renaissance. In spite of its outwardly anarchic spirit, the commedia dell'arte was a highly disciplined art requiring both virtuosity and a strong sense of ensemble playing. Its special quality came from improvisation. Working from a scenario that outlined the plot, the actors would improvise their own dialogue, striving for a balance of words and actions. Acrobatics and singing were also used, as well as the lazzi (special rehearsed routines that could be inserted into the plays at convenient points to heighten the comedy). Because the actors stayed together in permanent companies and specialized in playing the same role for most of their professional lives, they achieved a degree of mastery that had been hitherto unknown on the Italian stage and that must have made the rest of the theatre seem all the more artificial. Another reason for the impact of the commedia dell'arte was that it heralded the first appearance in Italy of professional actresses (the best known being Isabella Andreini), though the female characters were never as sharply developed as their male counterparts. Most of the characters were defined by the leather half-masks they wore (another link with the theatre of antiquity), which made them instantly recognizable. They also spoke in the dialect of their different provinces. Characters such as Pantalone, the miserly Venetian merchant; Dottore Gratiano, the pedant from Bologna; or Arlecchino, the mischievous servant from Bergamo, began as satires on Italian "types" and became the archetypes of many of the favourite characters of 17th- and 18th-century European theatre.
From humble beginnings, setting up their stages in city squares, the better troupes--notably Gelosi, Confidenti, and Fedeli--performed in palaces and became internationally famous once they traveled abroad. The commedia dell'arte swept through Europe. It was particularly popular in France, where resident Italian troupes were established before the end of the 16th century. Local variations on the characters appeared in the 17th century. The cheeky servant Pedrolino became the melancholy Pierrot in France, while Pulcinella became Punch in England. By the 18th century the commedia dell'arte was a lost art, though its spirit lived on through the work of the dramatists it inspired, among whom were Molière (stage name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), Carlo Goldoni, and William Shakespeare.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Contextually the Rococo style occurred mainly at a time when the aristocracy was fairly indifferent to ruling and more interested in having fun and enjoying the pleasures of life.  These excesses of the aristocracy ultimately lead to the downfall of the aristocratic class in France and the overthrow of the French monarchy in 1789.
Jean Antoine Watteau. Pilgrimage to the Island of Cythera
1717 oil/canvas 4'3"x6'4" Louvres, Paris
French Rococo
Nicolas Poussin Echo and Narcissus 1630
French Baroque Compare Watteau's painting of a pastoral and classical image to Poussin's 
treatment of the same kind of image.  Think about how the form and the subject
matter are at once different and the same.  Why do you think these differences
exist?
Read the two poems below and see if you can find any parallels between the 
two poems and the two paintings.  How are they alike and how are 
they different?
Form: Watteau's palette consists mainly of pastel colors which are various pale or light colors, such as powder blue, peaches and pinks.  The brushwork is feathery and or rough and the composition is asymmetrical. The main line of figures that moves across the foreground are arranged almost musically in uneven undulating intervals that weaves in and out of the Baroque diagonal created by the landscape they inhabit.
Iconography and Context according to the Brittanica,
 
Watteau's Cythera.
In 1712 Watteau tried once more to go to Italy. He did not succeed, but he was accepted by the Académie as a painter of fêtes galantes--outdoor entertainments in which the courtiers often dressed in rural costumes--for his presentation of a scene depicting actors in a garden. Between 1710 and 1712 he had painted the first of his three versions of the "L'Embarquement pour l'île de Cythère." The myth of the island of Cythera, or of love, has distant roots in French and Italian culture, in which the journey is depicted as a difficult quest. Watteau's Cythera, by comparison, is a paradise wavering in the ephemeral and in artifice; it represents an invitation to delights amid the enchantment of nature. It is an island toward which the pilgrims embark but never arrive, preserving it preserves its light only if it remains far on the horizon. Watteau's first version of the subject is anecdotal: it illustrates a comedy motif in a vaguely Venetian ambience. The second--which is the most beautiful--has the aspect of a profane ritual in an unreal, immense, and almost frighteningly empty landscape. In the third, in which cherubim flutter around a golden gondola, the subject has become vulgarized. Common to all three versions is a theatrical, almost scenographic, composition, a chromatic transposition of all that is suggested in the theatrical universe. The wonderlands of opera, romance, and epic are all evoked by Watteau's Cythera, which represents the country of the impossible dream, the revenge of madness on reason, and of freedom on rules and morality. According to one hypothesis, the theme was suggested to Watteau by a prose play, Les Trois Cousines (1700), by Florent Dancourt, in the finale of which a group of country youths, disguised as pilgrims of love, prepare to embark on the voyage to the island of Cythera. Since this story of rustic millers is parodistic in intent and quite different from the refined scene that Watteau set in an unreal Venice, it is more probable that Watteau was inspired by an opéra ballet of Houdar de la Motte, La Vénitienne (1705), in which the invitation to the island of love includes not only the pilgrims of Cythera but also the stock characters of the commedia dell'arte--that is, both of the great themes that Watteau pursued all his life.
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe c 1600 Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feeds their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kittle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold'
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.
The shepherd' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with the and be thy love.
Time drives the flocks from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.
Thy gowns, the shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, the kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten--
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.
But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Swing 1766 
Oil on canvas 35''x32''  Wallace Collection, London
French Rococo
Form:  Fragonard's palette is almost exactly the same as Watteau's.  It too consists mainly of pastel colors which are various pale or light colors, such as powder blue, peaches and pinks.  The brushwork is feathery and or rough and the composition is asymmetrical. The main line of figures that moves across the foreground are arranged almost musically in uneven undulating intervals that weaves in and out of the Baroque diagonal created by the landscape they inhabit.
Iconography:  Fragonard uses a combination of contemporary 18th century eroticism and classical themes.  The scene here is almost one that you might find in a movie or novel such as Moll Flanders, Dangerous Liaisons, or the Affair of the Necklace
The painting The Swing was commissioned by the treasurer et the French clergy. The client wanted a scene in which a lover - who can be seen amongst the rose bushes in the left foreground - would have an opportunity to look under the skirts of his mistress; originally the swing was supposed to be pushed by a bishop. But when, owing to its piquant nature, the commission was given to Fragonard, he replaced the bishop with a gardener.
(quoted from http://www.op.net/~uarts/lin/we_e_roco_1.html)
The sculpture of Cupid and the two putti that hide in the bushes are an attempt in some ways to "dress up" the images with a classical touch.  The cupid presses his fingers to his lips as if to warn the young woman to be less obvious as she kicks her shoe off playfully. Fragonard also attempts to show his knowledge not just of classicism but also of art history with his playful nod to Michelangelo's Adam echoed in the pose of the young man who looks up his lover's skirts.

 


Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 1732-1806 
The Meeting, from Love of the Shepherds
1771-73 o/c 10'x7' New York, Frick Museum
Form:  In terms of form, this image is a perfect example of the Rococo style according to Stokstad's description of it. Iconography:  The works symbolism is almost completely clear even if one is not familiar with the exact story expressed by the series the Love of the Shepherds.  Here is a typical "dangerous liaison" as expressed in the two poems above by Marlowe and Raleigh.  The scene is a pastoral one, in fact the boy in red silk is the shepherd who vaults lightly over the low wall to meet his wary girlfriend.  Above them, almost in a decaying state because it is so overgrown, is a statue of Venus and Cupid.
The imagery is taken from a variety of literary, theatrical, and operatic sources.  In many of the novels of the period, such as in Dangerous Liaisons, letter writing is an important plot element and in this painting we see that the young woman holds a love letter in her hand.  The young man has just climbed a ladder is a reference to many of Shakespeare's balcony scenes from Romeo to Cyrano as well as scenes from operas such as Mozart's Don Giovanni and Commedia dell'arte.
Context:  Fragonard is the last of the great Rococo painters.  His style, which represents the last style developed by Louis XVI during his reign (1774-93) of Louis XVI, according to the Brittanica,
 
was actually both a last phase of Rococo and a first phase of Neoclassicism. The predominant style in architecture, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts was Neoclassicism, a style that had come into its own during the last years of Louis XV's life, chiefly as a reaction to the excesses of the Rococo but partly through the popularity of the excavations at ancient Herculaneum and Pompeii, in Italy, and partly on the basis of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's call for "natural" virtue and honest sentiment. One of the most dramatic episodes in the stylistic oscillation from Rococo to Neoclassicism was played out in 1770 at Mme du Barry's Pavillon de Louveciennes. A series of large painted canvases by the Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard depicting the "Progress of Love" were removed almost as soon as they were installed and replaced with a series commissioned from Joseph-Marie Vien, a Neoclassicist. Vien's pupil Jacques-Louis David was the most important painter of the reign of Louis XVI; his severe compositions recalling the style of the earlier painter Nicolas Poussin are documents extolling republican virtues. During the Revolution, David was a deputy and voted for the execution of the King.

 

François Boucher, Brown Odalisk 1745 Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris
François Boucher, Girl Reclining (Louise O'Murphy) 1751
Oil on canvas, 59,5 x 73,5 cm
Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne
Form:  These are small paintings in which Boucher demonstrates his ability to paint the textures of skin, fabric and porcelain.  Iconography:  Titian in his The Venus of Urbino, 1538 offers the male viewer a classisizing excuse for gazing on the female form, however, Boucher makes no such excuse for his painting.  This is most obviously this is a semi pornographic painting meant for a male audience.  Despite the fact that images like this have been defended as beautiful renderings of the human form, these images are overtly meant to be small erotic works that would have been hung in the bedroom to stimulate the sexual appetites of the occupants.
What is more interesting about these two images is that they also juxtapose the eroticized female form with commodities or luxury items.  By playing the textures and body of the female against expensive persian carpets, fabrics, jewels and porcelain, the artist is also making the human female form another commodity which can be bought and sold.  In this way, the wealth of the patron is also eroticized.  This device is played off again and again throughout the history of art.
Context:  These two images are also historical artifacts that document two facts.  The first is that Marie-Louise O' Murphy was one of the many mistresses of Louis XV and the brown odalisk is a reference to the French penchant for exotic women. 
According to the O'Murphy surnames website:
The most notable woman bearing the Murphy name was the famous courtesan Marie Louise O Murphy (1737 - 1814), fifth daughter of an Irish soldier who had taken up shoemaking in Rouen, France. After his death, their mother brought the family to Paris where she traded in old clothes while finding her daughters work as actresses or models. Marie Louise posed for Boucher, a painter at court. He painted her so attractively that she came to the notice of Louis XV, who soon appointed her his mistress. Their child is supposed to have been General de Beaufranchet. She married three times and was divorced by her third husband, who was thirty years her junior. For a period during the reign of terror, she suffered imprisonment because of her royal connections.
This is one of the first instances that I know of that an artist has painted an odalisk in France.  An odalisk or odalisque is a Turkish harem girl.  Images of asian or oriental nude harem girls become the fashion in French art from this point forward.  We'll see many more of these white European male's fantasies of eroticized asian women from now on.  Images of the odalisque most likely symbolize the male French view of the world and in some ways both justify and inflame their desire to colonize the so called "orient."

ar.ca.di.an adj, often cap (1589) 1: idyllically pastoral; esp: idyllically innocent, simple, or untroubled 2 a: of or relating to Arcadia or the Arcadians b: of or relating to Arcadian Ar.ca.di.an n (1590) 1 often not cap: a person who lives a simple quiet life 2: a native or inhabitant of Arcadia 3: the dialect of ancient Greek used in Arcadia According to the Brittanica,
Modern Greek ARKADHÍA, mountainous region of the central Peloponnesus of ancient Greece. The pastoral character of Arcadian life together with its isolation partially explains why it was represented as a paradise in Greek and Roman bucolic poetry and in the literature of the Renaissance. The region is not exactly coextensive with the present-day nomós (department) of Arkadhía, which extends on the east to the Gulf of Argolis. The capital of the nomos is Trípolis.
au.to.crat.ic also au.to.crat.i.cal adj (1823) 1: of, relating to, or being an autocracy: absolute 2: characteristic of or resembling an autocrat: despotic -- au.to.crat.i.cal.ly adv
fete n [ME fete, fr. MF, fr. OF feste--more at feast] (15c) 1: festival 2 a: a lavish often outdoor entertainment b: a large elaborate party ²fete vt fet.ed ; fet.ing (1819) 1: to honor or commemorate with a fete 2: to pay high honor to
fete cham.pe.tre n, pl fetes champetres [F, lit., rural festival] (1774): an outdoor entertainment
he.do.nism n [Gk hedone pleasure; akin to Gk hedys sweet--more at sweet] (1856) 1: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life 2: a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism -- he.do.nist n -- he.do.nis.tic adj -- he.do.nis.ti.cal.ly adv
neo.clas.sic or neo.clas.si.cal adj (1877): of, relating to, or constituting a revival or adaptation of the classical esp. in literature, music, art, or architecture -- neo.clas.si.cism n -- neo.clas.si.cist n or adj
oda.lisque n [F, fr. Turk odalik, fr. oda room] (ca. 1681) 1: a female slave 2: a concubine in a harem
pas.to.ral adj [ME, fr. L pastoralis, fr. pastor herdsman] (15c) 1 a (1): of, relating to, or composed of shepherds or herdsmen (2): devoted to or based on livestock raising b: of or relating to the countryside: not urban c: portraying or expressive of the life of shepherds or country people esp. in an idealized and conventionalized manner <~ poetry> d: pleasingly peaceful and innocent: idyllic 2 a: of or relating to spiritual care or guidance esp. of a congregation b: of or relating to the pastor of a church -- pas.to.ral.ly adv -- pas.to.ral.ness n ²pastoral n (1584) 1 a: a literary work (as a poem or play) dealing with shepherds or rural life in a usu. artificial manner and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of the simple life and the misery and corruption of city and esp. court life b: pastoral poetry or drama c: a rural picture or scene d: pastorale 1b 2: crosier 1 3: a letter of a pastor to his charge: as a: a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese b: a letter of the house of bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be read in each parish
trompe l’oeil - (French: "deceive the eye"), in painting, the representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object. This idea appealed to the ancient Greeks who were newly emancipated from the conventional stylizations of earlier art. Zeuxis, for example, reportedly painted such realistic grapes that birds tried to eat them. The technique was also popular with Roman muralists. Although trompe l’oeil never achieved the status of a major artistic aim, from the early Renaissance on, European painters occasionally fostered illusionism by painting false frames out of which the contents of a still life or portrait appeared to spill, or by creating window-like images suggesting actual openings in the wall or ceiling. (Brittanica)

 
     

 

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