Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 

 


CHAPTER ONE
 

EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
 

THE DARK AGES-I
THE DARK AGES-II
OTTONIAN ART

 


THE DARK AGES
 




PLAN OF A MONASTERY, ST. GALL.

The importance of monasteries and their close link with the imperial court are vividly suggested by a unique document of the period, the large drawing of a plan for a monastery preserved in the Chapter Library at St. Gall in Switzerland (fig. 383). Its basic features seem to have been determined at a council held near Aachen in 816-17. This copy was then sent to the abbot of St. Gall for his guidance in rebuilding the monastery. We may regard it, therefore, as a standard plan, intended to be modified according to local needs.


383. Plan of a monastery. Original in red ink on parchment. ń. 820 ë.ď. 28 x 44 1/8" (71.1 x 112.1 cm).
Stiftsbibliothek, St. Gall, Switzerland
(inscriptions translated into English from Latin)


The monastery is a complex, self-contained unit, tilling a rectangle about 500 by 700 feet (fig. 384). The main path of entrance, from the west, passes between stables and a hostelry toward a gate which admits the visitor to a colonnaded semicircular portico flanked by two round towers, a sort of strung-out westwork that looms impressively above the low outer buildings. It emphasizes the church as the center of the monastic community. The church is a basilica, with a transept and choir in the east but an apse and altar at either end. The nave and aisles, containing numerous other altars, do not form a single continuous space but are subdivided into compartments by screens. There are numerous entrances: two beside the western apse, others on the north and south flanks.


384. Reconstruction model, after the ń. 820 A.D. plan of a monastery (Walter Horn, 1965)


This entire arrangement reflects the functions of a monastery church, designed for the liturgical needs of the monks rather than for a lay congregation. Adjoining the church to the south is an arcaded cloister, around which are grouped the monks' dormitory (on the east side), a refectory and kitchen (on the south side), and a cellar. The three large buildings north of the church are a guesthouse, a school, and the abbot's house. To the east are the infirmary, a chapel and quarters tor novices, the cemetery (marked by a large cross), a garden, and coops for chickens and geese. The south side is occupied by workshops, barns, and other service buildings. There is, needless to say, no monastery exactly like this anywhere—even in St. Gall the plan was not carried out as drawn—yet its layout conveys an excellent notion of such establishments throughout the Middle Ages.



SPAIN.


385. Sta. Maria de Naranco, Oviedo. Dedicated 848


Outside of Germany, the vast majority of early medieval churches were small in size, simple in plan, and provincial in style. The best examples, such as Sta. Maria de Naranco (fig. 385), are in Spain and owe their survival to their remote locations. Built by Ramiro I about 848 as part of his palace near Oviedo, it is, like Charlemagne's Palace Chapel, an audience hall and chapel (it even included baths) but on a much more modest scale. Remarkably, it features a tunnel vault along the upper story and arcaded loggias at either end that were clearly inspired by the interior of the Palace Chapel (fig. 379). The construction, however, is far more rudimentary, built of crudely carved, irregular blocks instead of the carefully dressed masonry (called ashlar) found at Aachen. We need only glance at S. Apollinare in Classe (fig. 303) to realize how much of the architectural past had been lost in only 300 years.



Ground map of the church




Santa María del Naranco interior



Manuscripts and Book Covers


GOSPEL BOOK OF CHARLEMAGNE.

From the start, the fine arts played an important role in Charlemagne's cultural program. We know from literary sources that Carolingian churches contained murals, mosaics, and relief sculpture, but these have disappeared almost entirely. Illuminated manuscripts, ivories, and goldsmiths' work, on the other hand, have survived in considerable numbers. They demonstrate the impact of the Carolingian revival even more strikingly than the architectural remains of the period. The former Imperial Treasury in Vienna contains a Gospel Book said to have been found in the Tomb of Charlemagne and, in any event, is closely linked with his court at Aachen. Looking at the picture of St. Matthew from that manuscript (fig. 386), we can hardly believe that such a work could have been executed in Northern Europe about the year 800. Were it not for the large golden halo, the evangelist Matthew might almost be mistaken for a classical author's portrait like the one of Menander (fig. 387), painted at Pompeii almost eight centuries earlier. Whoever the artist was—Byzantine, Italian, or Prankish—he plainly was fully conversant with the Roman tradition of painting, down to the acanthus ornament on the wide frame, which emphasizes the "window" treatment of the picture.
 


386. St. Matthew, from the Gospel Book of Charlemagne,
ń. 800-810 A.D. 13 x 10" (33 x 25.4 cm).
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


387. Portrait of Menander.
ń. 70 A.D. Wall painting.
House of Menander, Pompeii


 


GOSPEL BOOK OF ARCHBISHOP EBBO.

The St. Matthew represents the most orthodox phase of the Carolingian revival. It is the visual counterpart of copying the text of a classical work of literature. A miniature of St. Mark, painted some three decades later for the Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims (fig. 388), shows the classical model translated into a Carolingian idiom. It must have been based on an evangelist's portrait of the same style as the St. Matthew, but now the entire picture is filled with a vibrant energy that sets everything into motion. The drapery swirls about the figure, the hills heave upward, the vegetation seems to be tossed about by a whirlwind, and even the acanthus pattern on the frame assumes a strange, flamelike character.

The evangelist himself has been transformed from a Roman author setting down his own thoughts into a man seized with the frenzy of divine inspiration, an instrument for recording the Word of God. His gaze is fixed not upon his book but upon his symbol (the winged lion with a scroll), which acts as the transmitter of the sacred text. This dependence on the will of the Word, so powerfully expressed here, marks the contrast between classical and medieval images of humanity. But the means of expression—the dynamism of line that distinguishes our miniature from its predecessor—recalls the passionate movement in the ornamentation of Irish manuscripts of the Dark Ages (figs. 373 and 375).








388. St. Mark, from the
Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims.

816-35 A.D. Bibliotheque Municipale, Epernay, France
 



UTRECHT PSALTER.

The Reims School also produced the most extraordinary of all Carolingian manuscripts, the Utrecht Psalter (fig. 389), It displays the style of the Ebbo Gospels in an even more energetic form, since the entire book is illustrated with pen drawings. Here again the artist has followed a much older model, as indicated by the architectural and landscape settings of the scenes, which are strongly reminiscent of those on the Arch of Titus (see fig. 275), and by the use of Roman capital lettering, which had gone out of general use several centuries before. The wonderfully rhythmic quality of his draftsmanship, however, gives to these sketches a kind of emotional coherence that could not have been present in the earlier pictures. Without it, the drawings of the Utrecht Psalter would carry little conviction, for the poetic language of the Psalms does not lend itself to illustration in the same sense as the narrative portions of the Bible.

The Psalms can be illustrated only by taking each phrase literally and then by visualizing it in some manner. Thus, toward the bottom of the page, we see the Lord reclining on a bed, flanked by pleading angels, an image based on the words, "Awake, why sleepest thou, Oh Lord?" On the left, the faithful crouch before the Temple, "for . . . our belly cleaveth unto the earth," and at the city gate in the foreground they are killed "as sheep for the slaughter." In the hands of a pedestrian artist, this procedure could well turn into a wearisome charade. Here it has the force of a great drama.



LINDAU GOSPELS COVER.

The style of the Reims School can still be felt in the reliefs of the jeweled front cover of the Lindau Gospels (fig. 390), a work of the third quarter of the ninth century. This masterpiece of the goldsmith's art shows how splendidly the Celtic-Germanic metalwork tradition of the Dark Ages adapted itself to the Carolingian revival. The clusters of semiprecious stones are not mounted directly on the gold ground but raised on claw feet or arcaded turrets, so that the light can penetrate beneath them to bring out their full brilliance. Interestingly enough, the crucified Christ betrays no hint of pain or death. He seems to stand rather than to hang, His arms spread out in a solemn gesture. To endow Him with the signs of human suffering was not yet conceivable, even though the means were at hand, as we can see from the eloquent expressions of grief among the small figures in the adjoining compartments.
 


389. Illustrations to Psalms 43 and 44,
from the Utrecht Psalter. ń. 820-32 A.D.
University Library, Utrecht


390. Upper cover of binding, the Lindau Gospels.
ń
. 870 A.D. Gold and jewels. 13 3/4 x 10 1/2" (35 x 26.7 cm).
The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

 
 

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